So a very good friend and former colleague of ours is fighting a late stage, aggressive form of cancer……..and I’ve been feeling very sad. Speaking to him on the phone over the last couple of weeks has been heart-wrenching at times as you can imagine, as we talk about love and regret and hope and how random life can be. But this morning, when we chatted at length about living life to the fullest and not resisting the day, my sadness began to turn to inspiration. He has inspired me through his unwavering positive attitude, his courage, and his urgent message about perspective. He passionately implored me to live my life to the fullest because one day, way before you think it’s time, you might wake up and have a hard time swallowing……and the things that you think are important, and worth your time and energy, become trivial beyond belief. He finished our conversation by saying that the time between the first day of the rest of your life, and your last day, is shorter than you think…..and I’m taking that to heart.
With all that said, what can we take away from this message as educators, as our beautiful students get set to begin another school year? For me, it’ a wake up call and a call to action……a purposeful shift in mindset and a renewed commitment to the purpose that we all have as a collective faculty, and the responsibility that we have to be the best versions of ourselves for our kids. I would suggest that regardless of how long you’ve been teaching……be it two years or twenty two……that you still haven’t arrived at a place where you have no more room to grow. We are in the incredible and enviable position of being able to inspire and affect dozens of young people’s lives in profound and immeasurable ways every single day…..think about that! I wonder if we truly understand how crucial it is for us to come to school every morning with the clear intention of changing a student’s life for the better, simply by being who we are as mentors….and as role models.
As we begin the year, I want you to ask yourselves how you’re going to spend each day……how will you approach each lesson……each interaction with your kids…….how will you cultivate your relationships with each other, and will you live each day of the year with a sense of purpose and urgency. This is the only sixth grade year for our students……the only eight grade year……the only year as a senior……are you ready to make this the best school year of their lives? Are you ready to be the best version of yourself not only for them but for you…..because one day, sooner than you think, you might wake up and have a hard time swallowing, and the opportunity to live your life and vocation to the fullest will be gone……
I want to thank you all for an amazing start to the year, and I want to wish you all a wonderful and inspired 2013-14. We’ve arrived together at an enviable place this year, as our hard work and our educational purpose has brought our fairy tale to life for our kids……don’t resist the day everyone, and make this year a strung together collection of inspired individual days……the students start on Wednesday, and I just know that this year will be one that they remember! Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our student and good to each other.
Quote of the Week……..
Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways. – Stephen Vincent Benét
Attachment – Oh, Gather Me the Rose (William Ernest Henley) Oh, Gather Me the Rose
Upworthy Video (live life to the fullest)…….
TED Talk – Cloudy with a Chance of Joy