June 2, 2017
Dear Teachers –
It’s summer. Some of you have already taught that last class; others of you will do that very soon. I’m thinking of you as I begin my summer of workshops with many of you, and I wanted to wish you each a summer that leaves you renewed for the fall.
I hope you each find time this summer to walk some, nap some, and read some. Actually, I hope you read a lot. Read something – lots of somethings – for pure escape, and read lots of things to learn a lot. Read way, way below your Lexile level (if you even know your Lexile level) and occasionally read above it.
I hope you watch a favorite movie one more time, make popcorn the old-fashioned way, don’t give a damn about how you look in a swimsuit and jump into the pool with a splash. I hope you’ll find a group with which to discuss hard issues. I hope you’ll find a group with which to enjoy a bottle of wine, or two. I hope you’ll fall in love with something. And if you haven’t fallen in love with someone, if that happens, I hope you fall head over heels and enjoy the giddiness of the time. And if anyone stares at who it is you care to love, hold her hand or his hand tighter and look the other way. That person staring at you, well that person isn’t worth your time.
I hope you’ll try something really hard and fail at it. Yes. Fail at it. Failing helps us all remember what it’s like to be that kid who fails, no matter the effort put forth. So find something you can’t do and try. Try and fail. And remember how that feels. And then imagine failing every day. Imagine how that feels. You’ll go back to school a different teacher.
I hope you’ll bake a cake from scratch. I hope you’ll laugh until you cry. And I hope when something hits you hard, you give yourself permission to cry, to sob, to feel in that moment all you truly should feel. I hope you sleep past an alarm; I hope some mornings you won’t set an alarm. I hope you learn a lot. Love a lot. I hope on rainy days you stay in PJs and I hope on sunny days you play outdoors.
And for those of you this summer who face hard days and nights as loved ones face illnesses or you battle your own; as hearts break and lives move apart; as parents die or friends part or children face problems none should face, I hope you always find those around you to offer solace, to offer help, to offer a steady hand.
For those of you taking a child to college, breathe. You’ve done your job. Breathe. Be proud. Don’t cry until you get in the car. And don’t text; well don’t text a lot. And don’t get a dog. Seriously. Don’t fill that empty nest too quickly. You’ll love that dog, but give yourself some space to enjoy this next phase of life. Then get a dog.
I hope you have wonderful dinners with great friends; get closets organized; rooms rearranged; garages cleaned; flowers planted – or that you give yourself permission to do none of the cleaning and just have more dinners. I hope you find the time to help someone who wasn’t expecting it; encourage someone who needs it; provide a warm embrace for someone who feels alone or lost.
I deeply hope you have a summer that when you look back you see that you embraced every moment of it. Felt every day of it. I hope that eventually, you look back and remember this summer with clarity, this summer that gave you the time to become so much.
My best to you all —