Right now, I’m not teaching. I’m taking care of plants and talking to people as they come into my retail store whether they’re in good or bad moods. It sucks and sometimes I miss teaching, but at the same time, I’m just glad to be alive. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan which is sort of what I want to share in this message. There’s so much that I forgot to teach you, either because we ran out of time, had too many snow days, or got sidetracked by testing. This message is for all of you: the ones from Lypovets, Ternopil, Dayton, and Nampa. You were all great students and I hope that you are living a life you’re proud to live. I still want to preach some truths to you. So here they are:
• Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are two very important characters. As Americans or as those who appreciate and teach about American culture, it’s important that you read about these two characters. Go to your library and look up Mark Twain. Get the shorter version from the kid’s section. Just read it.
• Education is valuable. Higher Ed costs a lot of money which I’m sure you know. But the education you get in grade school, junior high, and high school only comes once. You have one chance to learn from those teachers and your classmates you have there. You can’t ever go back and try again and if you did, it wouldn’t be the same anyway. Value your education.
• Too much of a good thing can be harmful. This is the case with chocolate, soda, school, you name it. If you focus TOO much on homework, you’ll never have a social life. If you drink too much soda, you’ll get cavities, an ulcer, or maybe you’ll just be a walking advertisement for your favorite soda without getting paid. Too much of a relationship can be harmful as well. They say that when you travel with someone, you know if you can marry them or not. That’s because you’re stuck with that person for pretty much the entire trip. You need to have other friends. You need to be able to rely on more than just one person. Get married and when you do, make sure you still take time to hang out with your friends on the side. You’ll need a little bit of breathing room.
• A’s are nice, but there are more important things that you should be learning in school. In kindergarten, you should have learned how to share. In grade school, you should have learned your fractions, how to play in groups, how to chase a soccer ball, how to build a sugar-cubed igloo. And in junior high, you learned how to mediate your own friendship squabbles so your teacher didn’t need to send you to the counselor’s office. And in high school, you should be learning how to think about things, how to learn on your own and how to read more than the test scores. If you learn to think critically, you will pass the test. So quit worrying about that “A,” and start thinking.
• You will be tested, not just in school and college, but in life. Things are going to suck. Some of you already know that life can suck; your parents got divorced, your aunt passed away, you broke up with your girlfriend or boyfriend. These things happen. It’s how you deal with them that make your life better or worse. Find the things that make you happy be it music, a book, a place, or maybe even a movie and use that to help anchor you when things are awful. Don’t rely on that bad stuff. Never turn to alcohol on a tough day. Don’t take up drugs to help you forget. You’ve got to deal with those feelings and emotions, because if you go for the harmful substances, you’ll end up like one of my aunts. She was an alcoholic and drug addict for years. She looks like she’s ninety and she walks with a hunched back. She’s not happy. She can barely communicate with us normally. She never learned how to deal with life and her emotions so she avoided with drugs and alcohol. She’s the cautionary tale.
• Even if you’re a really great person who loves people and can let things go without getting mad, you’re probably going to eventually have a boss that you hate. I’m sure you had a teacher that frustrated you a bunch. Well, get ready. Bad bosses are worse than the most annoying teacher. If you’re lucky, you’ll have multiple bad bosses and what makes this lucky is that it means you’re getting extra doses of learning how to deal with annoying and frustrating people.
• Eat fruit and vegetables. You know it’s true. You may like Cheetos and chips and whatever, but it’s way better for your body and your mind when you eat fruit and vegetables. Do it!
• Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This is the only earth we have. We humans consume a lot. It’s important do follow the three R’s. And if you live in Idaho, push your legislators to expand your recycling program. Better yet, start your own recycling program.
Well I think I’ve been on that soapbox for long enough. I hope you are all happy and healthy and that you’re doing things every day to make this world of ours a better place to be.
Sharece (in Ukraine) or Miss Bunn (here in the states)