When you wake up and get out of bed each day, you have no way of knowing what the day will bring. It’s one of life’s joys. And one of life’s mysteries. When we came together in September as a 2nd grade class, we had no way of knowing that by spring break we’d be working and learning from home. That our living rooms, bedrooms and dining room tables would become our classrooms. We had no way of knowing that the masks we donned for our Contraction Surgery would be everyday attire in just a few short months. We had no way of knowing that we’d be saying our end of school goodbyes using video conference calling usually only reserved for the business world. But what I do know is this: we are now a family bonded by an experience that will remain with us forever.
Every fall, teachers prepare for a new school year. A new group of students. New lessons. And, maybe even a new outfit. We have the whole school year in front of us. We dream a million dreams about the world we’re gonna make. We think we have a plan. But, if we have learned nothing else this year, we’ve learned that plans don’t always go as planned, despite the name, and that sometimes time grabs us by the wrists and directs us where to go. It’s something unpredictable and what really matters is what you do with it. You must attend to the task and not ask why. The lesson will be learned in time.
Before we left school, we shared a space together, lessons together, experiences together. As a class, we laughed together. We cried together. We learned together. We spent hours upon hours honing our skills and growing. School became our home away from home, and I saw more of my school kids than my own kids. But that was OK. They know how important teachers are to students and how important you are to me. To have all that uprooted suddenly and be robbed of the many weeks we still had ahead of us hurt. My heart ached. But, remember how I said the lesson will be learned in time?
Through it all, I learned how smart and resilient you are. I watched how adaptable you can be. I witnessed how responsible you are. I felt the warmth of your smiles, even on the most challenging days. I saw you overcome obstacles and grow as leaders. You persevered. You took what many would have said was impossible and made it a reality. You showed everyone around you what 7- and 8-year-old kids can make happen. And, so I thank you for letting me be a part of it all. You really do keep me forever young.
As you head off into summer, I want to leave you with this: Dream a million dreams. Think of what the world could be. Live in a world you design and be the vision of the one you hope to see. Dance. Warm the world with your smile. Remember that’s its not about how fast we get there or what’s waiting on the other side, but the climb. And, when you can choose anything, choose kind. Above all else, know you are loved.
The days without you have been long, my friends, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again. Until then, may your dreams stay big and your worries stay small.