Who would have thought my son's second grade graduation would bring so many parents in a packed auditorium to tears? Many of us have older children as well and therefore, have spent the past seven to ten plus years at Linden Avenue Elementary School. Now that our youngest is moving on to the upper elementary school across town, it really hit home that we will never return to Linden Avenue and this chapter in our lives is over.
The auditorium was filled with emotion - there wasn't a dry eye in the place. Where did the years go? Before we know it, high school graduation will be here and then these kids will be off to college and adulthood. I remember when I was a kid, summers seemed endless, but as a working parent, time just flies by. I hope these soon-to-be third graders will cherish wonderful memories and retain at least some of the wisdom that we parents and their teachers have worked hard to instill in them.
After watching a wonderful slide show of the children as they grew from pre-K through second grade and a great performance by the second graders with a final "Goodbye Linden Avenue" farewell song, the superintendent asked the children to repeat after him five pieces of advice. As I listened, I realized that it was sound counsel for all of us as it is for eight year olds:
1) Eat your vegetables-
We have all heard this from our parents and now we are preaching it to our kids to deliver the simple message stay healthy. Valuing good health, in both body and mind, is a great foundation for leading a productive life.
2) Read everything and anything you can get your hands on-
Be a sponge; the more you read the more informed you become. Reading is the key of knowledge which leads to all doors of opportunity.
3) Listen to and respect your parents-
We are older and hopefully wiser! Living in today's global economy requires appreciation for and embracing diversity of thought, period.
4) Try your best - don't ever give up-
Michael Jordan is a great example. Basketball might have been in his genes, but Michael Jordan worked nonstop to develop to his full potential. He was cut from his varsity high school basketball team but fought hard to prove to his coach that he made a mistake. He went on to be the best basketball player in world history.
5) And every once in a while, remember to give your parents a hug-
Recognize and appreciate those around you. Relationship building is a skill that reaps great rewards throughout life, from friendships to coworkers.
We need to take the time to teach core values to our children and inspire them to tackle life's challenges with a "can do" attitude and passion to make a difference in this world. With a blink of an eye, these children will be charged with doing the same for their own.