Dear Class of 2019,
I love you.
I have read about 1600 pages in the past week or so and realize that as much as I care, listen, hear, and feel it is still not enough. There are some of you that emotionally slipped through the cracks. For this, I apologize.
This is my last lecture in written format. It is hard to explain, but some classes just couldn’t handle the lesson in person. Part of it is because some of you still haven’t figured out how to be emotional, or how to control yourself in emotional moments and a variety of other reasons, but alas here we go.
Grit is an evolving organism like the flu or some other biological disease that I can’t think of right now (Don’t get lost in the bad science metaphor). As our life changes, Grit changes and adapts to our circumstances or should I say opposes our circumstances. As a teenager working on my Eagle Scout Project, I spent an entire afternoon cataloging books for a new library. I, along with by my best friend Shawn and my Mom catalog for hours. I vividly remember thinking to myself, ” This Dewey Decimal guy is a freaking idiot, he is ruining my Saturday, this is the absolute worst day of my life.” Little did I know, that 20 years later, I would be working on a second masters degree, working two jobs, raising seven kids, teaching seven straight classes at school, and working on administrative internship hours. Cataloging books seems like a freaking bowl of cereal compared to what I just described. Grit is circumstantial and grows as we grow. Resolve to evolve.
Clarisse or Mildred- Ugh just typing Mildred’s names makes me angry. Seriously, angry. You? Anyway, what type of person do you want to be?
Like Clarisse, or like Mildred. Clarisse tastes rain, notices the dew on the grass, isn’t afraid of Montag, plays love games with dandelions, and “is crazy.”
Mildred, on the other hand, has her headphones in all day, is addicted to the parlor walls and her “family”, and is continually trying to commit suicide. Oh, and she doesn’t even remember when she met her husband. Seriously.
You need to make the choice every morning to be a Clarisse. I get it crappy stuff happens, get over yourself. If we learned nothing else from the memoir experiences, it is that crappy stuff happens to all of us. It is the human existence. I’m not insensitive either; I just think if you make the choice to be a little more positive, or like Clarisse your lives will be so much better. And you know I am right, that is the funny thing.
Get rid of your Mildred’s as quick as possible. Mildred sucks, so do the people that act like her. If someone is causing waves in your pond, get them out of your pond or move to another part of the mountain. You don’t have the time or energy to make sure everyone else’s boat is sailing in the right direction. I know, I know “Mr. Campbell, I am the only one that can help them,” or “Mr. Campbell, If I don’t throw them a lifeline they will drown,” Guess what? They might, but at least you won’t go down with them.
Socratic Seminars are happening every minute of every day in every conversation we have with other people I.e sports, music, boys, girls, school, math, news, current events. When you leave a conversation do you not usually know more than you did before you began the conversation. The knowledge about the subject may be the same, but the information you gain about the person is immeasurable, their dreams, their wants, their opinions, their history, their passions, their religion, their political view, their secrets, their sense of humor. Socratic Seminars aren’t about information; they are about people. The sooner you realize that most things in life come down to people, the more successful you will be.
The Emotional Bank Account. Always be making deposits. When you have full emotional bank accounts with everyone around you, you will see how amazing life can be. My life is awesome because I deposit whenever I possibly can. It can be something as small as noticing someone’s new hair cut/style/color or their new shoes. Boys did you not see what happened to the girls in class when I mentioned how beautiful/cute they looked when they dressed up for something or got a new haircut, or changed their makeup. The emotional bank account is about the details. It’s not about the dozen roses on Valentines day (which is okay), but remembering that she loves the yellow Starbursts ( I don’t know anyone who loves yellow Starbursts, that is beside the point) and saving them for here after you have finished the pack.
It’s the small text message after an awesome date that says, “Thanks for taking me out tonight and treating me like a woman should be treated. I would love to hang out next week after your baseball game or whatever.” It’s about the details.
Cereal Day. From Faber in F451 “I don’t talk things, sir,” said Faber. “I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I’m alive.” In late December, I sat at a desk with a bunch of boys playing “Cereal Poker”. I sat there enjoying the amazingness that is Cinnamon Toast Crunch. At that moment I was alive, and I knew it. Hopefully, you have had many moments like that this year. Whether you have shared them publicly or not, that doesn’t matter, just that you know that you are alive. Are you alive? If so, are you living or do you just exist? I would argue that most of you learned more from cereal day than from any standardized test.
Boys- Girls are like the trees in Lord of the Rings or Fern Gully they communicate through mystical powers, and always remember everything. If you hurt one tree, (continuing with the metaphor) you hurt all of them. When a girl breaks up with you, it’s probably your fault, and you shouldn’t sling the slut/whore word around. It’s embarrassing and shows your lack of confidence and how low your self-esteem is. I understand that you might be angry, but channel that anger into becoming a better person who pays attention to the details. Also, girls deserve more than surface level attraction. Talk to them. Tell them about yourself, your hopes and goals and plans. Listen to them and hear them, try (and fail) to understand them. They will appreciate it.
Girls- You are too good to let a boy like you for your body. Plain and simple. Don’t let boys pressure you into “putting out.” Don’t let them trick you into thinking that your worth and your relationship is based on physical attraction. Remember the triangle and what happens when the triangle is upside down.
You are each amazing, smart, funny, weird (in your way) beautiful, and will do amazing things. Please! Please! Stop listening to the destructive voices in your heads. They will/have destroy/destroyed you and your self-confidence. I can see it in some of your eyes. Even though you haven’t talked about it out loud, I know it’s there. If you need a pick me, send me an email.
Honesty and Authenticity
Telling the truth and showing the truth. On the fist day of school, I told all of you, “I love you.” I was honest and authentic. The problem with authenticity it that is in the eye of the beholder or receiver. Many of you thought I was crazy, high (on life), or just plain stupid. Some of you even decided to test me or push me away and not let me love you. Over time though you were able to understand that my statement was backed up with action and the way that our class ran. In High School, your going to see a bunch of people running around with masks on looks for the people with authentic faces, life will be so much better. “People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel when you said it.” (Someone Famous I think)
The Bucket List
Throughout the year, we talked about movies, music, tv shows, plays, books and activities ( Shoot the Tube). All of those experiences have made me who I am today. This Summer you will/should read “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, as you read, pay attention to Atticus Finch; he is one of the men I have tried to emulate my life after.
There is no conclusion because we are not done. I am not done caring about you or teaching you. The lessons will be different and less regular, but you will see me at school events or out in public, and we will chat, and we will laugh, and we will learn from each other.
My classroom is a sacred place. I hope you felt that. I know that according to some there was magic or sorcery taking place, but there wasn’t, it was learning, loving and laughing. I love you!
Google Voice # For job references, Eagle Scout references, etc. 801-382-7723