I can still remember the excitement I felt at the beginning of a new school year. The anticipation of once again playing and learning with old and new friends. Fearful if I would like my teacher and that she would like me. My problem was that I was a dreamer, living most of the time in my imagination. I would learn in the sixth grade that it only takes one teacher to connect with you and change your attitude toward learning. In my case, it was Mr. Wall. He recognized all the parts of me that would turn me into an avid learner and lover of school, instead of what usually got me into trouble. He responded to my sense of humor with his own. He taught me how to focus and pay attention by focusing on me. He praised my imagination and creativity which encouraged me to soar with an eagerness to learn new things, and every morning he would greet me with a smile that brightened the beginning of my day.
My little James is about to begin Kindergarten. I am excited about the wonderful things I have heard about Dalton Elementary School. They are clearly involved with the academic, social, and emotional needs of the children as they create a healthy balance in their classrooms. As difficult as these past few years have been for children, my wish is that they embrace this new school year and fearlessly express themselves with respect and manners. They must be reminded of how unique they are for their thoughts, ideas, and ways of doing things. I want my little James to be an explorer. Happiness will not come from following others but from discovering his own unique path. I want him fearless and strong to question everything. The only dumb question is the one he didn’t ask. I want James to respect his imagination and to value that it is limitless. That he can think any thoughts, begin any project, or learn any craft that challenges and fulfills him. I pray that all our children get back to the basics that will carry them through their lives: a love of reading, math, writing, science, and the fine arts. Individuality in a child should be admired for their path may open hearts and minds to a better way we never imagined. Each step of learning should inspire the next, a new door to open and explore.