I don't have any children from my body, but I have several children of my heart. They are the ones that I have watched go from squirrelly junior high babies to smart, capable high school graduates. I am on my fifth cycle of watching 8th graders become seniors and it is humbling, heartbreaking, and amazing to watch. So, this is my note to the ones who have come and gone and the ones who are yet to be...
Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be." --Clementine Paddleford
Dreams are good and necessary. They give you a direction and a set of goals. But, please don't be so busy dreaming that you forget to do something about it. Don't let someone else tell you that you can't or you won't either, especially someone who claims to love you. Sometimes you have to let go of one dream to grasp something else, but let it be on your terms, not the beliefs and terms of others.
"The best way to try to motivate somebody is by being direct with them, to be honest with them. Lies are never the right way to get your message across." -Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Honesty really is the best policy, even when you don't want to be that person. At the end of the day, you will be respected for speaking the truth in love, instead of being wishy-washy or sugar-coating it. This doesn't, however, give you the license to say whatever pops into your head. Just because you think it, doesn't mean it has to be expressed. Truth is one thing, being intentionally hurtful is another.
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” -Carl Sagan
It really does all come down to love in the end. You can never tell the people you love enough times that you really do love them. Be sure to show them, too. It's a big world out there, and finding a place to call home, whether that's where you grew up or with the people you meet along the way is the only way to survive it. You may subscribe to the romantic idea of one great love out there for you, and I would never tell you different. I may not have experienced it for myself but, I've seen enough to know that it exists. My wish is that you find yours, but beyond that I wish that you find the place that you belong.
It seems there's one or two in every class. Teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but inevitably, it happens. One of you comes in my room in tears about a classmate's comment or a relationship issue of one kind or another, and we talk, maybe even cry, and then hopefully laugh. I am so lucky to have the job that I have and the opportunity to watch you reach the milestones of your life through high school and beyond. (Thank you, Facebook!)