Last year I started the tradition of writing a letter to my students on the first day of school, and I’m so glad I did it! I realize it’s more for me than for them at this point, but I’m okay with that. To all of my fellow educators, whether you’re teaching in a classroom with cinder block walls, at your dining room table that doubles as a school room, or in an office where you encourage and inspire others to never stop learning, I pray you have a blessed year.
Have you ever noticed how humanity tends to be obsessed with first things?
First day of _____ grade
First man to…
First woman to…
This summer, my family and I moved from our first home. There were a million life lessons that came from the experience. Some of them made me feel warm fuzzies and others made me come close to bidding my sanity goodbye.
One thing that has stuck with me came from removing all of our possessions from the house. This meant uncovering patched up holes from first-time home owners before they understood the power of power tools. Going through tubs in the attic revealed dust-covered decor I bought before I was more confident in my sense of style. Cleaning out closets meant finding rags used to mop up messes I respect you too much to describe (motherhood is incredible).
The evidence of how I fumbled my way through the uncertainty of those experiences when they were new challenges are humorous to me now. I know the next person will come in, slather a fresh coat of paint on the dings, stains, and patches on the wall, perhaps shaking their heads at the “mess” we made of things only to make their own holes in the walls and stains on the carpet as they move past their first days there and begin really living.
First days are wonderful because they bring with them a fresh start. None of us have to be defined by last year. We’ve all changed in some way over the summer because life brings that about whether we want it to or not.
But if we’re honest, first days aren’t the best days because we haven’t had a chance to start really living in this new school year yet. I’m not saying they’re bad, but we have much to anticipate and enjoy in the months to come. We haven’t gotten to work, put off work, learned to persevere through challenges and conflicts that arise when doing meaningful work.
We’ll make messes, laugh, likely get annoyed from time to time, be proud of things we accomplish, wish we’d done things differently, and try again. Then in May, we will all pack away our things and then see the evidence of what we learned from each other.
I’m truly thrilled about spending this first day with you, but I am most excited about how this first day will turn into only one of many days.
Thanks for coming along for the journey, my dear kiddos. I know you will inspire and teach me a great deal this year, and I look forward to trying my best to do the same for you.