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 Graduation, 2009

I was clicking through Pinterest the other day when I saw a pin of a happy family and the following description below:

“The Talk – First Day of School Speech. Perfect…every parent should give this to their child. Wonderful perspective on what’s most important.”

I normally don’t click on those pins because it sounds like someone trying to sell me something, but for some reason I clicked on this pin.

I’m so glad I did.

The Talk is a letter that Glennon reads her children every year before they start another year of school. The story never changes; it’s always about a little boy named Adam. I don’t want to ruin it for you (trust me, you need to read it for yourself), but it got me thinking about how I acted in school. 
I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t the nicest to some people. It’s embarrassing how rude I was. Sometimes high school doesn’t bring out the best it people, so I’ve desperately tried to make amends with those that I know that I hurt. But there’s still one person I haven’t been able to apologize to…
So I’m writing this letter to my future children so they don’t make the same mistakes I did. And hopefully Chris* will find it in his heart to forgive me. 
Dear Kiddo,
It’s the beginning of another school year! School always seemed to drag by for me; I always wanted to be in the next grade. But don’t let school become that way for you. Enjoy every moment, because before you know it, you’ll be graduated and you’ll never see some of your classmates again.
And don’t ever let that determine how you treat other people. Always be kind; always stand up for what’s right; always be a friend.
During my senior year of high school, I met a boy named Chris (*name has been changed). I had never seen Chris before. He was in a wheel chair, and I think he was home schooled. I never found out because I didn’t bother to talk to him.
We were at graduation practice and they were lining us up the way we would walk on our big day. I was toward the front of my class with most of my friends. They started to pair us off and I got assigned to Chris. My heart sank. I wanted to walk with my friends, not this boy I didn’t know. The administrators also informed me that I would have to help push Chris in his wheelchair. I was scared; scared of what my friends would think when they saw me pushing Chris.
Graduation day came and we lined up in the portals. The music started playing and off we went. Chris was next to me and we started to walk out. Chris faltered behind and I didn’t help him. I didn’t help push his wheel chair. I was too consumed with graduation and with looking cool in front of my friends. This could have been a moment for me to be a good example, but instead I was acting selfish. 
At the end of the walk, Chris made his way over to the side, where his parents were waiting to sit with him and I took my place in the seats. After the ceremony was over, Chris’ mom came up to me and said “Thank you for helping with Chris. It means a lot to us.” I am sure she was trying to be sincere, but the words stung. I knew that I hadn’t helped Chris one bit, and I was ashamed.
I still think about Chris and how I could have helped him; how it was his big day too. I wonder where Chris is now and I hope that he has forgiven me for what I did. 
I hope you’ll treat your classmates better than I treated Chris. Stand up for what’s right. Because after you graduate, your friends will move on and all you’ll be left with is the person you’ve become. Sometimes it’s scary to be friends with those who don’t have any friends, but you can do it.
With all my love,
This letter was hard for me to write. It’s hard to relive experiences I’d rather forget; but at the same time I’m grateful. I’m grateful for Chris and the lesson he taught me. I’m grateful for the perspective I have now. I hope to live my life a little better each day, so I never treat someone that way again.
Thank you for letting me diverge from my normal post content to share this letter. 

xo, Jessica


Monday 17th of June 2013

Jessica - That post must have been extremely hard for you to write. In this moment, I am very proud of you.

You are becoming a lovely young woman, inside and out.

Love you,Mom

Carley Lee

Friday 14th of June 2013

This is beautiful, Jessica. Thank you for sharing! The world is a better place with people like you in it. You have a beautiful heart, and it shows!-Carley xx

Tayler Morrell

Thursday 13th of June 2013

I'm glad you wrote this. This is the type of stuff we talked about at Bonnie's blogging roundtable: how to write about the hard stuff. Good job! I like the idea of a letter or story to tell your kids every year for school.