was asked to write an editorial for the Senior issue of the school - TopicsExpress


was asked to write an editorial for the Senior issue of the school paper last week. It was mostly for the Seniors, but its really for all my students, current and past. Here it is: Dear Senior, You’re leaving me. And there are some things that I never got to tell you. I wish I could bring you into my classroom and tell you this face-to-face, but I don’t know if I’ll get a chance. I would have told you as a freshman, but you smelled bad then and I didn’t want to sit close enough to you to have a conversation. I should have made more of an effort to find you and make time to tell you all this (preferably during your better-smelling Junior year), but you were busy with Chemistry, and I was busy directing Aladdin, and we just grew apart. But now you’re leaving me. So I’m writing you this letter to tell you some of the things I wish I would have told you in person: 1. APOLOGIZE MORE. You’re a pretty good person. And you know it. You make some mistakes sometimes, but really, you’re pretty good. You might do some dumb things, break an occasional rule, engage in some level of self-destructive behavior, but you generally think of yourself as a pretty good person. And you’re probably right. But there’s something you should know: Sometimes you hurt other people. You say things that hurt their feelings, or you offend them, or you maybe hide their stuff or stuff them in a closet. And it hurts them. And when you discover that it hurts them, this weird thing happens – you get mad at them. You call them “weak” or “easily offended” or “not able to take a joke” or “butt-hurt”, and you do this because YOU ARE BASICALLY A GOOD PERSON AND GOOD PEOPLE DON’T HURT OTHER PEOPLE! In your own mind, the logic works like this: “If I am a good person, and good people don’t hurt people, then when people get hurt it must be their own fault and not mine. “ But there’s a flaw in your logic. Good people do hurt other people sometimes. It just happens. Most of the time it’s not your intent, but it happens. And when it does, you should apologize. That’s what good people do. Maybe these people really are overly sensitive. Maybe they shouldn’t be so easily offended. It doesn’t matter. When you do something that hurts someone, you should apologize. It doesn’t make you weak. It’s not an acknowledgement that you are a bad person. It shows that you are of strong enough moral fiber that you can admit that you are a fallible human being. Don’t blame other people when they are hurt by you. Apologize, show yourself to be a truly good person, then move on and continue being awesome. 2. THERE IS MAGIC IN THE WORLD. I believe in magic. I really, truly, honestly do. Not Harry Potter Wizardry or Wicca or anything like that. It’s just that there are some weird, unexplainable things in life, and I can’t find a better word for them than magic. There are three powerful magics that I know of (these things always come in threes): Laughter, Music, and Romance. It’s kind of hard to justify any of these things biologically. They don’t really make sense from an evolutionary point of view. But they exist nonetheless. And they are wonderful. a. Laughing (and laughing hard) may be the single greatest joy of the human experience. There are a number of things that feel good (showers, kisses, eating and drinking, and other things that I’m not willing to get into here), but I contend that there is no greater euphoria than that which comes from being with people you enjoy and laughing till your head hurts. b. Music is such a tremendously weird thing when you think about it. It’s just sounds. We make so many sounds all the time, and yet, when you put certain combinations of sounds together to form a chord, or create a sequence of specific sounds to form a melody, you create something that can entrance another human being – something that is universally considered beautiful. One cluster of sounds and it’s just noise. Another cluster of sounds and YOU CAN MAKE PEOPLE CRY!!! It’s the closest thing to Harry Potter Wizardry that I can think of in real life. And almost every single one of us has experienced this magic, the way that putting in a pair of headphones and listening to a song can either break us emotionally or make us feel invincible. c. Romance seems to go against the biological imperative to propagate the species; the impulse to go out and make as many babies as you can. And I’ve watched some of you act more like you are following the biological imperative instead of some Romantic Ideal. But no matter how debauched we may behave, no matter how strong the biological imperative is, no matter how much we may say that we don’t believe in monogamy, there is something Romantic that we are almost universally drawn to. It’s in our literature and in our songs. This beautiful idea that we should find another human to mate with and that the relationship should go beyond the simple biological imperative and become a higher kind of love. A love more than the affection that you feel for your pets, a love past the bond a parent and child can have, a love beyond the physical burn that two lovers feel for one another. The rest of the animal kingdom can feel all of these things. But we humans have discovered a higher magic: Romance. And once we discovered it, we recognized it for the magic that it is, and Shakespeare, and Byron, and One Direction couldn’t stop writing about it. Like I said, these three magics don’t make a lot of sense from a scientific point of view. But the fact is... they exist. And so, I have to accept that they must be pretty important, so I spend the bulk of my life pursuing them. And I would love it if you would join me. 3. DON’T CUSS IN PUBLIC. I believe that words are nothing more than combinations of sounds, and that, as such, there are no words that are inherently moral or immoral. Words only have the power that we give to them. The use of certain words becomes less ethical depending on the ears that are around to hear them. When you curse around other people, you are making the assumption that they place the same moral weight (or lack thereof) on that word that you do. And, you know, maybe they do. Maybe there are words that you say around your friends and you know that none of them will blink an eye at hearing them. But the moment you become willing to say these things in public (in the hallways at school, in restaurants, AT THE PARK AROUND MY TWO-YEAR-OLD), the moment you stop caring who hears you - you are crossing a line. Once you cross this line you are one of two things: A.) An idiot, or, B.) An a-hole. An idiot doesn’t realize that the things that they are doing or saying have an effect on other people, and so, in their infinite lack of awareness, they keep doing it. These people will still have friends because they are not necessarily bad, but until they increase their level of awareness, they won’t be very successful. Because they’re idiots. An a-hole, on the other hand, realizes that their actions and words are affecting others, and THEY JUST DON’T CARE, and they continue doing it anyway. These people will ultimately end up sad and lonely because they are bad people and no one will want to be around them including their own family members. Moral of the story, don’t be an idiot or an a-hole. (NOTE: THIS “IDIOTS AND A-HOLES” THEORY APPLIES TO MANY ADDITIONAL BEHAVIORS OTHER THAN CURSING – APPLY AS NECESSARY) 4. GET A MEAL PLAN. Yes, yes, go to college blah blah blah. It’ll help you succeed. Blah blah blah. It’s all true. But here’s something that not enough people tell you: Go to a college with a dorm. Live in it. There are lots of pros to living in a dorm, but more than the easy access to campus and saving gas money, even more than the fact that the community of dorm life can help make your college years the best of your life, you should live in a dorm BECAUSE YOU GET A MEAL PLAN WHERE THEY GIVE YOU A MAGIC FOOD CARD AND YOU CAN GO DOWN TO THE CAFETERIA WHENEVER YOU’RE HUNGRY AND SWIPE YOUR CARD AND EAT FOOD! AND THERE’S USUALLY MULTIPLE OPTIONS! AND THERE’S USUALLY A WAFFLEMAKER! AND LOTS OF FRUIT! AND A SALD BAR! AND FREE SODA REFILLS! AND YOU CAN JUST SIT THERE AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK OR READ COMIC BOOKS AND EAT PUDDING AND DRING DR PEPPER AND, SURE, IT’S NOT HEALTHY (BUT WHO CARES YOU’RE IN COLLEGE!), BUT THERE ARE ALWAYS OTHER HEALTHIER OPTIONS AND THE BEST PART IS YOU CAN DO THIS BASICALLY WHENEVER YOU WANT!!! (NOTE: For any non-seniors reading this, this – THIS – is the reason you should work hard at school and get good grades – because one day if you work hard enough someone will offer you a Magic Food Card) 5. I LOVE YOU. I really do love you. Most of us teachers here do, in fact. There are some of us that don’t really know how to show it, but even so, we love you. It’s hard not to love you, we spend almost as much time with you as we do with our own families (sometimes more), and you become like family; our children, our little brothers and sisters. And we love you. I love you. I love my Forensics kids (because they work so hard every day?), and my Stagecraft Benches and Jumpers, and all my stinky Speech Freshmen, and you. I love you, and I want the best for you. It kills me when I see you do stupid things that ruin your life because I love you like family and really, truly, sincerely want you to be successful and happy. Some of you have parents that love you too – that’s really awesome. Some of you don’t have that, and that really truly sucks and makes me sad. But however large or small the list of people who love you is, add one to it. Me. Because I love you. And wherever you go, whatever you do… Be awesome. Work as hard as you can. Be nice. Be happy. Remember that you are loved and that I (and so many others) want your life to be amazing. Do it for yourself. And do it for me. I guess that’s it for now. If I had you smelling good in front of me maybe I’d have a little more to say. When you graduate, hit me up on Facebook (Twitter is for children) and maybe I’ll have more to say to you. And maybe you’ll have more to say to me. Go be a fantastic grownup. Peace. Sincerely, Ian Galloway
Posted on: Thu, 22 May 2014 00:50:38 +0000

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