Many years ago, as I walked at my eighth grade ceremony at St. Vincent elementary school, I remember getting excited toward the end of the Mass, because Mr. Jarrett had taught us to sing an Irish Rovers song “Years May Come” and we were to perform this in musical rounds for our parents. I thought it was such a hip song. Yeah I was pretty much a dorky kid. A lot about elementary and middle school was learning the nuances of how to get along with others. My middle school years were the hardest years of my life. It was a relief to get out of grammar school. You, however, went from homeschooling to public school and made a success of all the changes you had to make to adapt to new learning environments. You made it all look so easy. Your fun loving nature, kindness and compassion towards others will be the recipe you need for success in high school. Don’t lose that good nature. Peers can help you be a better person or they can break you down. Choose good friends. Be a good friend.
Years may come where you have to make hard choices. You know this will be the greatest challenge in high school. Map a good path from the start. It will be an easier journey. Be a good example to others by being a person who is a friend to all. Choose the road less traveled.
Don’t let others define who you are. Everything you are right now will suffice. Let these next four years be about working hard and ‘making good’ on the fine goals you’ve set for yourself. Let music and sports be about contribution and teamwork. Don’t succumb to the pressures to be like everyone else, especially when you know that something is wrong. There is so much time for everything that will be put on your plate. Remember the virtue of patience. Choose to persevere.
Embedded in my memories of your growing up are the birthday interviews we did on videotape, the insane laughter you bring to carpooling and the inability I have to stay angry with you very long. Your volunteer days, the times you served others, most especially those Sundays you served Mass; these are the treasures you’ve given to others. Like your sisters, you care for your friends deeply. Don’t be too devastated when you are let down. Remember that forgiveness heals most things. Choose your battles and let go of the rest. It’s such a waste of time. Integrity will always win over popularity.
As you venture into the exciting world of high school, remember to honor yourself by respecting your teachers and coaches. Remember that we’re always here for you. Work hard and have fun. Congratulations on all your accomplishments. And like that old Irish Rovers song, “ Years may come and years may go… for each one…Thank the Lord that we have been...together through the years..”
Tammy Maher is a biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her on the web at www.familyfare.blogspot.com