Today is bittersweet. It was the last day of school for my students, graduation day for the first class I ever got the honor of teaching, and my last day as an EBR school teacher.
I am conflicted.
But with all the crazy emotions going on in my head, the one prevalent emotion I keep feeling is joy for my Istrouma kiddos and for my Tara kiddos that have graduated and are about to be unleashed onto the real world, ready or not.
Thanks to this very open forum, I really hope that my kids will humor me with a few words (even though I’m sure they’re sick of hearing my voice!)
Dear Senior Class of 2013,
First, congratulations. You have finally made it out of high school and gotten the sheet of paper that identifies that you don’t have to come back. That’s great news.
Everyone is going to congratulate you, but you know that I am good for telling you the truth and the whole truth.
Now that you are “grown,” please always be kind. You know not what battles others are fighting at all times. If you can’t be kind, keep your mouth shut. Or at least have the courtesy to find a good friend to be unkind with out of the earshot of others. Please call your mama every Sunday. No matter what your relationship with her is. No more tattoos. No matter how cute you think that playboy bunny is going to look on the right side of your chest. It doesn’t look cute now and it’s gonna be really tragic in 10 years. Please realize–sooner than later–the real value of education. I’m not necessarily talking about what you learn in the classroom, but what you learn about being a human and how to treat other humans. People pay much closer attention to what you do than what you say. Please always say ma’am and sir. Please always remember that if you start off in a situation mad, you have no where to go. Young men, realize that sagging your pants is a good way to attract two things: trouble and sex starved men fresh out of prison (it’s true. Google it.) Young ladies, please always remember that walking in heels means placing one foot in front of the other and when you sit in a chair you should cross your feet at the ankles and place them to the side. If you ever wonder if your skirt is too short, it is. If you don’t wonder, but your skirt does not touch your knees, it’s too short. Please learn to tie a tie, cut a steak, and eat soup correctly–with a soup spoon. Please remember that people don’t “be doing” things, they do things. “Is” and “are” are not interchangeable and their/they’re are two different words. Please learn to watch your mouth and communicate without cursing, because if you can’t communicate without a curse word, then you’re not communicating at all.
Please remember that excuses are tools of the incompetent and don’t use them.
Be confident in setting goals and do everything you have to do to reach those goals. Even when it’s really hard. Because it will be.
Please remember every teacher that led you here and will lead you throughout your life. Remember every “good morning”, “see ya later”, “have a great day”, and “sit down, stop talking”. Please remember teachers that stayed up at night to say a prayer for you, stayed after school to help you get through, or shared their lunch with you when you had none.
Always remember where you have come from and enjoy setting your sights on where you will go.
Lastly, always do whatever you do with pride and confidence. Love what you do and your love will show in your work.
Whatever you are, be a good one.