First, breathe. It probably doesn’t look anything like any other year. In fact, I know it doesn’t. It’s kind of like that picture of us on the canoe – paddling into the fog – knowing there is a destination but not knowing the bends or where the river is shallow. Sometimes it raced and other times we couldn’t see farther than a length ahead.
And yet we paddled.
You sat in the front. Paddled, worked hard. I steered, even in the fog. That’s what we do, we guide, even in the unknown.
I know that everything once that was normal has been shifted around and here you are, in a new situation. And it’s not just you – it’s your friends, your school, your teachers. We’re all a bit fragmented – friends going to school and friends staying home and some virtual and every single thing that we though was untouchable, well, there it is – scrambled.
It’s all new.
All in the fog.
New can be challenging, even if in the hard there is good. Remember when we couldn’t see the bend? We didn’t stop, we just kept putting our paddles into the water and kept on moving. That’s what this school year is – a whole bunch of paddling trusting we are moving forward. It’s work too. There were times where we had to dig deep and other times when we could ride the current. But we had to work together. We checked in on each other, we kept in sight of the other canoe – we were a team.
This year we need to be a team. All of us no matter our difference.
You see, maybe this year we all gain a different perspective. We learn more about kindness and adapting. We learn about giving back. We learn about seeing the good even in the hard. Maybe it’s not as much math but a great deal more about how to treat each other well.
This virus has really knocked our world around. I know that adults can have differing viewpoints and there can be a great deal of anger out there right now. You don’t deserve to feel the result of our frustrations. In fact, that’s my goal for you this year – to be good in a world that seems kind of challenging. To be stability in a world that feels so foggy. To know that even if we don’t know how we will get to the end destination that we will get there together.
We can be the example of how to love, how to show up, how to give, how to be gracious, how to keep on paddling – even in challenges.
I promise to keep showing up.
Did you hear that? I will show up. No matter what.
Let me tell you, that doesn’t mean we are going to have perfect days. It doesn’t mean that learning will be easy either. It means that just like in all the years prior I will be here for you. Day after day, night after night.
We will learn together.
We will journey forward together.
We will paddle in the fog.
My goal for you is that when you emerge from this year, that yes you get new head knowledge, but more than that you see your bravery, you see how life can still be beautiful and you are kindness.
This world needs you.
words by Rachel Marie Martin