Warning: mushiness ahead.
Sometimes I read Carol Lynn Pearson’s book The Lesson on the last day of school. It’s a fable about a boy who goes to school and learns all kinds of things: addition, subtraction, writing, and such. But embedded in every lesson is also how he should treat others, as well as the lesson that we can’t always control what happens to us in life. Last year, I read this book to my AP class (who are graduating this year) and I was shocked when I got to the end of the story and choked up.
In that moment, I knew this group of seniors would be hard to say goodbye to. I’ve experienced this before–nearly every year I find it tough to say goodbye to a handful of seniors–but every now and then, it’s more than just a handful. This is one of those years.
The Class of 2013 only has 2 1/2 days of school remaining; graduation is next Saturday. And even though this week I may have expressed frustration about common senior-itis complaints and behaviors, the truth is that I really can’t think too much about this class lest I start crying.
Granted, I have only taught a fraction of the seniors who are graduating, but I lucked out with that fraction. They are bright, motivated, funny, and nice. I wish I could bottle up the quiet self-assurance many of them have and somehow transfer it to my nieces and nephews.
I’m excited to see what the Class of 2013 does with their next seven years. But before they go, I want them to remember this piece of wisdom from The Lesson:
“Suddenly, he realized that all the lessons he had been learning all his life had really been only one lesson, that all the problems he had been working on all his life had really been only one problem–this problem: How much do you love?”
Class of 2013, don’t be so wrapped up in exams and papers and dorm life and Greek drama that you miss the collateral learning. Look for those small moments of grace and loveliness as you scatter across the country and embark on grand adventures. Learn more than facts; learn how your life can change your world, however small that world might be. Learn how to be a friend, a son, a daughter, a sibling, a citizen of the world.
And if you think about it, send me a postcard once every few years.