Thank you for coming to school every single day. You make it no secret that you hate it, and yet you show up anyway. You find ways to entertain yourself and to have fun, even if it’s at my expense. That’s actually a great skill to have. You may not see it now, but your ability to find even a small way to make yourself happy despite being stuck in an adverse situation is going to get you through a lot of tough times, and it probably already has.
Thank you for being honest and brave. I may not like to hear it, but you always tell me what you think, and you’re most certainly not quiet about it.
Thank you for your great ideas. I know that the thought of somebody being satisfied with your academic contributions is foreign to you, and maybe that’s why you checked out of school before you and I met, but when you do choose to share I’m always impressed. I wish you would do it more.
Thank you for making me laugh. For creating yourself a bed out of chairs so that you can lounge during class. For every day coming up with a new and creative reason for why you need to go home, this very minute. Thank you for doing these things because they give me pause and make me laugh, even if they frustrate me too.
But most of all, thank you for challenging me. I was trained for a job wouldn’t be easy, I was warned that I would cry, but I never could have been prepared for you. Honestly, I’m not going to pretend I know what to do to make you like school or do your work. But thank you for pushing me to question myself, to think outside the box, to ask others for help. I needed all of those things. They make me a better person. YOU make me a better person.
My wish for you is that one day you will see your perseverance, honesty, bravery, intelligence, creativity, and every other beautiful but hidden quality that you possess in the light of day. My wish for you is that you will someday decide that you no longer need to hide these things, that you will allow yourself to be vulnerable and to trust someone else and to show them who you truly are so that you can be appreciated.
This transformation will take time. In fact, I may not ever see it happen. But the incredible thing about life is that I get to come back and continue to try every single day. I get to be just one blip in your journey, and I won’t shoulder all of the responsibility for your success myself. I get to imagine the huge web of people who care about you and who will each contribute something toward your future. But in the end none of us are going to cause you to change. That’s on you.
But you know what? You don’t have to believe me, but I know that you’re going to do it.
So thank you.