I teach at a Montessori school in a multi-aged classroom. Since the kids start in my classroom at 3-years old and finish kindergarten when they are 6-years old... I really have a lot of time to get to know them. Tomorrow is the last day of school and it's always a little bittersweet. Three years is a long time to spend every day with someone especially when it's (sometimes) more than half that person's life.
With each June comes obligatory graduation speeches and well-wishes. I've decided to write a little something:
1. Listen to your parents. There's going to be plenty of times that you don't want to. And you're going to think they've never been more wrong; never have gone through anything like you're experiencing; and just flat out have no idea what they're talking about. But listen to them -- chances are, they know. They're also smarter than you. And you will rarely get something passed them. If you do -- just know, they know and are just giving you the benefit of the doubt.
2. Go outside. Enjoy the fresh air. Go for walks. Run. Play. Soon, there won't be time. You'll be busy. You'll think you're so busy (you're not). iPads and other technologies have nothing on what you can find outside. TV will always be there. You'll never be able to get the same sunny Saturday back. There will probably be another one but it won't be the same. Enjoy things when they come.
3. Don't stop just because you get knocked down. People are cruel. And they'll take you down in a minute to get a step ahead. It's going to happen throughout your whole life. Sometimes, they'll be your friends, sometimes not -- but it'll happen. Sometimes it'll happen so badly -- that you'll think it's the end of the world but it's not.
4. Sometimes crying does help. You know how I say "crying doesn't help". Well, it's a lie. It totally does. It doesn't get you what you want by any means. But it allows you to get out all the emotions and whatever craziness is going on inside and sometimes all you need is a good cry -- alone. Don't let others see you breakdown.
5. Friends think of your feelings. If your friend is being mean to you; not listening to you, getting others to be mean to you, trying to get you to do things you know you shouldn't -- they're not your friend. Drop them like a bad habit. You don't need to be friends with everyone. Sometimes, you'll meet people who will stay in your life forever, and sometimes just for now. If they're not good for you -- get rid of them. You don't need a lot of friends. It's okay if you only have one friend. If you can count on them and trust them -- you'll be okay. Make sure you return the favor.
6. Ask questions. If you don't know the answer, ask. But more importantly, if something doesn't feel right... don't just do it. ASK. Find out the who, the what, the why, the where, the how. You don't have to do things just because you're told to. (Unless it's by your parents). But anyone else, even your teachers... no. If something doesn't feel right (and you'll know), there's always a way to respectfully ask... or decline.
7. Get involved. Jump into activities. Don't be shy. There's going to be times that it'll be easier to just sit back and watch. You'll say you're observing and you'll join the next time. Make sure you follow through. Don't pass on everything, you never know when it could be something that will complete your life. Stand up for people. Don't be nervous. When you see something or hear something -- remember, would you like it to be shown or said about you? If not, help. If you think you can't: ask for help.
8. Take care of yourself. Only then can you take care of others. Put yourself first (you heard me). Use your head for thinking and don't rely on your heart. Friendships and relationships will take a toll on your heart. But if you take care of your head, your heart will heal.
9. Stay healthy. You'll be a teenager in no time -- don't do drugs and don't drink too much. Just don't. Sometimes it works out fine and you move on and sometimes you really don't. It's not worth it. Be smart. Be safe. Don't do crazy things just to show off.
10. Find out what YOU love. There's going to be a lot of times you think you love something, and you'll realize it's actually what someone else wanted you to love. Don't fall into that. If you take care of yourself, you'll know yourself and you'll find what you love. Strive for it. Even if it doesn't work out the first time. Keep working and dream big. It's okay to change your dream. Know that effort is rewarded but usually not immediately and never by the person you'd like to notice. Remember: being successful has nothing to do with being rich. If you love what you do -- you're ahead of most of the people in the world.