Friday, August 24, 2012

A letter to Eldest

This is, at least for us in the Distaffen household, the last week of summer. Middlest just sat on the couch and said, “I hate myself, I hate this time of year. I am excited that school is starting soon and I hate myself for that. Everything I want to do seems boring. You could invite me to go bungee jumping-- BUNGEE JUMPING-- and I would say, ‘No, thanks, that just seems boring.’”

While Middlest eagerly waits for school to start, Littlest is angry since she may not be able to take all the honors/AP classes she wants. It appears that the easiest way to conform “No Child Left Behind” is to hold the smarter children back. Since it is much easier to keep a smart child from reaching her full potential, than it is to have a less smart child exceed her ability. 

As for Eldest, today is her first day of college. It is only orientation weekend, but it is the start. She says she is nervous and I can understand that. Therefore, if you are looking for my usual funny stuff, be prepared to be disappointed, I have simply written a letter to Eldest and included it here.

Dear Eldest, 

Today you start college. I know you already knew that, but I wanted to remind you. It is a start, a new beginning, a canvas waiting for paint, a parchment waiting for words. 

I am firmly convinced that along the way you are going to make mistakes. To that I say, So what? Who cares? What is the big deal? For thousands of years people have made mistakes and the human race seems to be getting along just fine, and to let you in on a secret, those people whom you think are the most perfect and mistake-less, they too, make mistakes.

I also want to give you a warning, for the past four years, teachers have spoon fed you facts, and in the spirit of “No Child Left Behind”, with a few exceptions, have failed to fully challenge you. There are no bells, to mark the beginning and the end, no herds of people milling about as they move from stanchion to stanchion. No ten week review for a test written by some educational warehouse a thousand miles from your class room. 

Instead, you will be expected to learn, and much of that on your own. Questions will be asked, not only to clarify material and clear up confusion, but to challenge beliefs and encourage critical thinking. And by critical I mean terrifying, heart stopping, thinking. 

Your world will soon go from nice, neat, high school boxes, with black and white labels, and always right and wrong answers, to a terrifying hodge podge of brilliant colors and containers of all shapes and sizes. People and ideas will be far different from what you are used to. To be sure, there will be some definite moral absolutes, “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” But beyond that, much will be challenged. 

I know you will do well, not only because you are your mother’s daughter, but because you have a strong character, a resilient personality, and a deep love for God. 

So, go forth, enjoy your first steps as an adult. 


Before I posted this, I printed a copy and let Eldest read it. She gave me that special look that teen-aged daughters reserve for their fathers. The look that says, “Male parental unit, you have finally lost every last bit of intelligence. You are officially off your rocker.” That was Eldest’s look and her words to me were, “Dad, I already know this stuff. Haven’t you read my blog?"

Then, I remembered holding Eldest as an infant and praying that she would grow into a young woman who loves God, herself, and others. 

1 comment:

  1. <3 This is really sweet. Best of luck to Eldest as she starts college!