The rest of your life is being shaped right now. I took today to introduce this idea to my students, who, on a good day, are hard to handle. I teach at a school where bad choices are not only a daily occurrence, they’re expected by teachers and administrators, and all of the people who are supposed to believe in our students. If my kids take nothing else away from this school year, I want it to be the knowledge that every decision they make is having an effect on the rest of their lives. I want them to be able to give others a chance, not because they want to necessarily, but because it’s the right thing to do.
So today we wrote lists, and not just any lists, we wrote self-reflective lists. I had come across a MySpace post that I had made when I was a senior in high school called “50 Things I Don’t Care if You Know.” When I re-read it, I was reminded of all of the craziness that accompanied my high school journey, and also how much just creating and posting that list helped me get through that difficult year. So I told my students that the best way to start fighting back against all the naysayers and doubters was to get to know what was rattling around in their heads. So I gave them a modified version of Haley’s speech, my list (which they of course found hysterical) and asked them to create their own. It went over well for the most part, and many of the kids really enjoyed it. If my assignment reached even one or two, I consider this a success.
My kids are dreamers, whether they realize it or not. They are poets and philosophers and one day, the rest of the world will see the things that I see in each of them. They are the Lucases and Peytons and Nathans and Haleys of this life, and they have the strength to overcome the obstacles that life has thrown at them. Our lives are being shaped right now, our choices, right or wrong, are in the past, and we are fighting back.