Good Thursday evening.
For the second time this month I am posting a blog, and the reason for that is simple: tomorrow, Friday, April 29, 2022, is the official final day of high school for the seniors I met last August. Today I shared with them a list of ten pieces of advice I pray they take with them as they leave me. I have shared this list below along with a montage of photos. This blog is for these seniors, their parents, anyone who loves them, and it is also for me because I need the catharsis.
The first time I taught high school, I was shocked to discover how much time you spend with students. Having taught as a college adjunct for many years, I was not used to forming emotional bonds with students; I certainly never cried at the end of a semester. When the end of April rolls around, I have spent a minimum of five hours a week face to face with these students for many months; some of them doubled that time beginning in January when I became their speech teacher in addition to their English teacher. You grow accustomed to their faces, their voices, their quirks, their laughter; you experience the highs and the lows of their final year of high school with them, and then one day it ends as abruptly as it begun on a hot, humid Friday in August. It is a bit brutal on the heart.
What follows is the list I shared with students earlier today and a photo montage . . . because there is nothing better than a solid cry while perusing a photo montage.
A list of my advice to you, the graduating class of 2022:
1. Get over yourself. You are special, but I don’t know if you truly understand why. Everyone you know is special, the people you love and also the people you don’t like so much, and they are special for the same reason you are: because the Living God who created you found each of you worth the life of His Son. When you begin to understand your worth is rooted in Christ, you begin to understand everyone’s worth. To borrow the lyrics of “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us,” “ . . . I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom / But I will boast in Jesus Christ / His death and resurrection.”
2. Remember that money is neither nothing nor everything. Plan and be smart, but don’t waste your life chasing monetary goals.
3. Be the friend you want.
4. Be the spouse you want to attract.
5. Marry someone who loves God first and completely.
6. The world aches for stable, happy families; create one, and cling to God and each other.
7. Read. Stay in or get in the habit of reading.
8. Remember these lessons from Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters: Your time is not your own. You’re here at God’s pleasure, so use the time you are given to honor Him. Your body is not your own; you were bought at a price, so glorify God with your body by using it in service to Him. Do not be deceived; you are always living for someone else, either the God who created you, or Satan. You will have a master; the choice left to you is to decide whom you will serve.
9. Go to church. If you feel unworthy, go to church. If you feel close to God, go to church. My invitation to join me at church is a standing invitation.
10. You have my phone number. Use it if you need it. I love you all for the same reason, not because you can analyze literature or run fast or make me laugh, but because Christ loved you first, because I see the spark of the Divine in you. I wrote you a letter in early October and told you this day would arrive rapidly, and it is here. It has been a pleasure spending this last year of high school with you.
I love you,
Today I told many of you, "I'll see you tomorrow." We are down to our last tomorrow, and while I know you are ready to go, I would happily throw together another unit on some random topic in British literature if it meant I could keep you another few weeks. You have burrowed your way into my heart, and there you will stay regardless of how far you travel.
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