There are few things I love more than a fresh start. Fresh starts come in many different forms: a brand new, clean purse, a blank journal, or the feeling of improved motivation on any given January 1st. New beginnings are one of life’s most treasured gifts.
As September rolls around, you, my beautiful children, will be offered a brand-new beginning. A new teacher, new books, perhaps a new friend or two, and new memories waiting to be made. While you may be more excited about the new clothes on your back and your cute, crush-of-the-moment, I ask that you take a moment to think about the change you can be in the world this school year. Heed this advice and you will be just fine.
1. Always Choose Kindness
Being kind is not an option, children. You must always choose kindness. I warn you that it will indeed be difficult at times. Perhaps a classmate will make you angry and you will be tempted to retaliate because, well, you may think they deserve it. They don’t. Challenge yourselves to respond to hate with love always. There will most definitely be times when choosing kindness is not the cool thing to do. Do it anyway. Nothing bad ever comes from choosing kindness. So when you see a child alone on the playground or having lunch solo, reach out with a welcoming invitation. Being kind when it is most difficult will build your integrity and warm your heart. Trust me on this.
2. Say Thank You
Look for the good all around you and when you spot it, say something. Say thank you to those who make it happen. Surprise people with a thank you as often as you can and happiness will be yours for the taking. Thank the lunch ladies, the bus driver, and the janitors. Thank the police man who patrols the school grounds and the retired man who volunteers at the crosswalks. Gratitude goes a long way and brings happiness to all who give it and receive it; practice it every day.
3. Don’t Fit In
Don’t wear Vineyard Vines because everyone else is wearing it. Wear it because you love it. Wear it because it’s an expression of who you are and who you want to be and because when you slip it on your skin, you feel great, comfortable and confident. If you are wearing it because everyone else does. STOP! Just be you. Experiment with who that is and try different looks, different clothes, and different hairstyles. But please don’t try to be like everyone else. You are too special, too wonderful, and too unique to be like others. Figure out who you are and if you don’t know, then keep looking. No matter what clothing you put over your skin, the soul that lives beneath it is enough, amazingly and perfectly enough. Nurture your soul and have fun with style.
4. Be Honest
I will never scold you for being honest. If you don’t do your homework one night, walk right up to your teacher and say I didn’t do my homework. If she asks why, then be honest with your answer. Lying is never better than being honest — and trust me, you don’t want to learn this when you’re 35. I support you no matter what, and whatever the consequences, we will get through together. Lying will cause more problems, more guilt and more emotional maintenance work than you need at your young age. So keep it simple and be honest.
That’s it. If you do those 4 things more often than not for the 2018-2019 school year, I guarantee you it will be an amazing year! Here’s to fresh starts and new beginnings. May your 9th, 6th, and 3rd grade years be full of kindness, gratitude, and honesty. May you enjoy self-expression. May your upcoming school years be as amazing as you are. And may your new beginnings turn into a lifetime of being positive forces in this world.