Advice for My Children

Dear Child,

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A Letter to My Children

You are perfect just as you are. Remember that it’s never too late to unbecome who the world thought you were supposed to be.

There are times when you might forget your own worth. You might twist yourself in a pretzel to make someone else happy, but make yourself miserable. Just be yourself.

It is possible to be brave and scared at the same time. Don’t let fear to stop you from doing the things that bring you happiness.

Seek joy! Be enthusiastic even when others aren’t. Laugh so hard your belly hurts. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Find sparks of happiness in tiny, ordinary moments.

The only certain thing in life is that one day you will be faced with uncertainty. You can’t control what happens to you, but you do have power over how you react to it. Write your own story.

Sometimes, hurt people hurt people. When someone tries to dim your light, remember that it takes courage to keep shining bright.

It’s ok to cry. If you don’t let the sad out, sad can turn into mad. Whether you are a boy or a girl, everyone feels sad sometimes.

Show up for your loved ones when they are suffering. Sit alongside them without needing to fix them. Simple isn’t always easy.

There will be times when you will have to protect your heart. It is possible to be a kind person and still say ‘no.’

Choose people who choose you. Surround yourself with those who see your gifts. Seek out people who already believe in you. Don’t waste time proving yourself. You might not be for everyone. And that’s ok.

Learn to give compliments from the heart. And most importantly, learn to accept compliments with grace.

The way you speak to people matters. Always speak with kindness in your heart. You just never know what they are struggling to overcome.

Don’t make yourself small in order to fit the places you’ve outgrown. It’s ok to dream big, spread your wings, and fly!

Everyone is capable of creativity. Your work will always be bad before its good. Make lots of it. Share your gifts with the world. Keep creating. Keep sharing. Keep getting better.

Done is better than perfect. Perfect is impossible. Shoot for your best, instead.

At times, you might get knocked down. Keep getting up. If you’re tired, allow yourself to rest. Keep trying. The only way to bounce forward, is to never fully give up.

Listen to others with an open heart, and don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.

Every so often, ask yourself: Am I proud of the way I make people feel?

Clap for friends and strangers even when you envy their success. Their victories don’t equal your failure.

Take care of your body. Feed it healthy foods. Move it, every day.

Take care of your mind. Feed it healthy thoughts. Give it the gift of stillness, every day.

Pick yourself. Don’t wait for permission to change the world. Express yourself. Find your voice. Don’t wait. Start now.

Walk through the world trusting the compass in your hand and following the whispers of curiosity on your heart. You might be unsure of your destination right now, have faith that it’ll all make sense in the end.

Love, Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Letter Every Teacher Should Write in June

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The Letter Every Teacher Should Write in June

Five years ago at the end of each school-year in the busy month of June, I started the practice of writing a letter to myself.  Like a ritual, I would seal the letter and place it in the left-hand drawer of my desk on the last day of school.  At the end of September, during the beginning of the following school year, a time when the lighthearted novelty of freshly sharpened pencils, crisp and clean notebooks, and excitement to ignite passion in the hearts of our students seems to melt like a brightly-coloured rainbow popsicle on a hot sunny day into thick greyish soup of overwhelm, lack of sleep, and a thorough sense of imposter syndrome, I would allow myself to pry open the letter. I would read each word slowly, with intention, allowing the message to sink into my skeptical spirit… reminding it that, yes, these students would get to where they needed to go. I just had to meet them where they were.

Patience. Time. Faith.

That was all I needed to keep in my mind over the coming months in order to stay afloat.

Throughout most of my career, I have had the pleasure of teaching Grade One, one of the most incredibly rewarding age-groups to teach because of the nature of exponential, near-explosive growth and learning that occurs in such a short period of time.

Like little jumping jellybeans, pint-size bodies file into the classroom in September,

eyes and hearts wide-open to the possibility of learning,

passionate about their beliefs,

sure-footed about their perspectives of the world,

filled with a desire be their authentic selves,

some students filled with trepidation,

others eager to show off their strengths,

certain children combative and oppositional,

other kids quiet and observing,

most are not yet able to

read,

write,

or do math.

There’s truly nothing like it!

It’s exhilarating.

It’s also incredibly exhausting.

But most of all, teaching Grade One (or any grade) can seem insurmountable in September.

The magic of the learning and deep growth that occurs within the soul of each child seems impossible to the rational teacher’s mind at the beginning of the year.

And so, the letter served to remind my “September-Self” that according to my “June-Self”…it would all work out.

No matter how long you’ve been teaching, the beginning of the year can seem tough. Why not take a moment now, in June, to reflect on how far your students have come, you have come together on your journey?

I urge you to jot it down on paper, pop it into an envelope and open that gift of insight and wisdom in September. It’ll alleviate some stress and create a sense of certainty for the future.

I guarantee, it’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself.