Outfits were picked out, lunches packed. Band instruments, gym clothes, binders....
The kids got it all together; my role downgraded to merely spouting off the checklist before they headed out the door.
And taking the traditional first day of school snapshots and my rah-rah pep-talk to get them fired up for the new school year. They used to roll their eyes at me when I would get the camera out. But now it is old hat. Expected.
They still roll their eyes.
As I was getting my camera ready, it occurred to me that this is a temporary tradition. Just because August comes every year, doesn't mean I'm gonna have students in my home heading off to their first day of a new school year. I only get 13 first-day-of-school photos.
And I'm on the 12th first day with this kid:
7th First Day for Tookie:
I was asking the kids how they hoped their new school year would go.
Actually I said "How do you want the story of your (junior/sophomore/7th grade/6th grade) year to read?
Responses were things like: good grades, no drama, go to state in sports, the best jr. prom in the history of our school.....
Mind you, the discussion was forced. I was the only one who really wanted to talk about it. So I forced my pep talk which I wanted to sound like this:
Happy first day of your new school year.
This year is your story to write.
It is your story to live.
Want good grades? Want to go to state in sports? Want to plan the best Jr. Prom in the history of our school? Don't let someone else determine what your story should be. And don't sit back and watch other people live their stories. Write your story. Live it. Become a positive character in the stories of those around you.
Don't want to be known as a drinker? Be involved with drama? Get bogged down with negativity? You don't have to be. Edit that stuff out of your story.
I can't promise you that there will be a happy ending for each story you write. But one thing I have learned about the ending of every good story is this: it isn't about the ending at all. It is about the journey. It's about what happens on each page that makes you want to turn to the next page. It's about the struggles that are going to happen. The struggles that can make you stronger, or the struggles that can bring you down. Yours is about how you handle each day, each page, each good and each bad thing.
Your (Jr/sophomore/7th-grade/6th-grade) stories will come to an end in 180 school-calendar days.
Make it a memorable story.
Except that my pep talk came out more like this:
Don't buy a water a la carte at lunch. It's too expensive. Take one with you.
As you can tell, I'm pretty good at this motivational speech stuff.