Monday, September 3, 2012

A letter to my students as they begin high school

And so it begins. Tomorrow. You must be excited, and nervous, and wondering how it will all unfold.

I wish I could tell you it will be easy. Sometimes it will, but often it won't. You will have new relationships to navigate, new teachers to get to know, new thoughts to ponder and new experiences to, well, experience.

I can tell you that you are all prepared for this. I can tell you that you have learned alot in your eight years of schooling and you can do this. I can tell you that I believe fiercely in the abilities of each and every one of you. I can tell you that there will be decisions to make along the way, and those decisions shouldn't be taken lightly.

So, if you will allow me, I have some advice.

1) Be kind to people, including yourself. Unkind actions hurt. Unkind words hurt. Unkind thoughts hurt. Don't exclude yourself from getting to know someone because they seem different from you and your friends. Give people a chance. You aren't going to like everybody, but it doesn't mean that you can't be kind just the same.

2) Whatever you say to someone, about someone else, make sure you would be able to hold your head up as if it was spoken directly to the person in question.

3)Don't do something you don't want to do because you are embarrassed to say no. There will be lots of situations in your life where your inner voice is trying to be heard..listen to it, follow it. It won't lead you astray.

4) You will be truly loved for who you are, not what you look like. Be gentle on yourself when you look in the mirror. You are a child of the universe. You have been given a gift, this physical body of yours, that houses your indomitable spirit. I have seen that spirit in each one of you. Each spirit is housed in a perfect vessel. It may not be the vessel that the media appreciates and respects, but I hope it will be one that you will respect. Treat it kindly.

5) Don't try to grow up too fast. There will be time. You don't have to experience life all at once. There will be time. Time for first true love, and first true heartbreak. I wish I could tell you there won't be heartbreak. But there will. And it will be ok. You will recover and it will be ok.

6) Be who you are. Speak your mind. Walk your walk. Each one of you is unique with your gifts and challenges, but each one of you is destined for something remarkable. It may not present itself for many years, but it will present itself if you show some patience.

7) Be kind to your parents. Believe it or not they were your age once, and they truly want what is best for you. They don't want you to make the same mistakes they made, and sometimes, in their parenting of you, they will make mistakes. Forgive them. And yes, be kind to them too.

8) Have fun. Enjoy life. Pay attention to this beautiful world around you. Yes, it has its flaws too, but it is still a beautiful world. Appreciate nature every single day.

9) Make a difference in someone else's life. Be charitable with your time and actions.

10)Don't settle, in your life, for mediocrity. Strive.

Ok, end of advice.

Here is a promise.

If you need me, and it is at all within my power to be there for you, I will be there.

As I said on our last day of school together - I will always have your back.

And so, tomorrow high school begins, and I will officially let you go.

But, unofficially?

Unofficially you are always in my heart, and my dreams, and I am there behind your shoulder wishing you well.

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