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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Time to move on

I have been very lucky in my lifetime. I've met more wonderful people than those that fall into the not so wonderful category. Many of them are still a part of my life and some have moved on to touch the lives of others.

Now, it's time for my high school volunteers to graduate and move on. I have had many volunteers before them and I'm sure that I'll have many more after them, but I will never again have any like them.

These are four beautiful, intelligent, compassionate girls who have the power within them to change the world. I know because they've already changed mine.

It is with mixed emotions that I send them on to the next stage of their lives. I am envious of the adventures they have waiting for them and yet relieved that I have already been there and don't have to go there again. Some of their adventures will not even seem like adventures until they are long over and nothing more than a memory. As they remember those ordinary adventures I am sure they will remember that someone, who they thought of as really uncool, was there saying, "Someday you'll appreciate this." I hope they let that person know just how right they were.

Other adventures will show themselves right away and may leave these girls happy and excited or tired and bruised. When they feel like they are on top of the world, I hope they will stop and take a deep breath while trying to memorize that feeling. They will be able to draw strength from it when the more challenging adventures present themselves. While facing the harder adventures, I hope the girls remember that brusies fade and wounds heal and tomorrow is another day.

I am worried about the life lessons they will have to learn and yet glad that they will be learning them. There will be many lessons that they won't want to learn, but learn them they must. Those lessons will help to shape the adults that they will become. I hope that they understand that life will not always teach us the lessons we want to learn, but that it usually teaches us the lessons we need to learn.

I am thrilled to see them so excited about the move from high school into adulthood and yet sad because they really have no idea just how much they are leaving behind. I hope they remember that you can leave home, but home never leaves you. No matter where they end up or how they arrived, any road leading away from home can always bring them back again.

If you ask the girls today what they plan on doing with their lives you will learn that one plans to be a teacher, one plans to be a nurse, one plans to become a police officer and that one plans to study criminal justice. These are wonderful plans to have and I hope that they achieve these goals. But, if their lives take a different path, I hope they find something else that excites them as much as these goals do today.

These girls will see many dreams come true while others fade and are forgotten. I hope that they will have the wisdom to know which dreams to persue with all their hearts and pray that they will have the courage to replace the others with newer, bigger and better dreams.

These girls will make many choices in their lives. Some will be easy and some won't. I hope that they don't rush into these choices too quickly or hesitate too long. The choices they make will bring them the joy of success and/or the sadness of failure. I hope they realize that success is about way more than money and things and that an unexpected outcome isn't always a failure. I also hope that they will face both the good and bad with grace and dignity.

In just a little over nine hours these girls will walk into my classroom for the very last time. We will give them cookies and presents. My students will give them hugs and I will tease them because that is what I do. But, what I want them to know...what I should tell them, but probably won't (because that is also how I am) is that...

You have made my classroom and my world a better place.
I will miss you and I believe in you.
I will be here if you need me.
Make me proud.


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