(From teacher Mary Stotts’ graduation speech tor her pre-k class in May 2014.)
This a great day! The end of one great adventure and the beginning of another, a 13-year adventure which seems like a long time, but will be very short. It will seem like only a few days and you will turn around and it will be time for high school graduation.
I have just two pieces of advice: One, as our beginning song says: “Let Them Be Little.” They will grow up enough, learning will come as they grow. Don’t get caught up in the comparison and competition of the parenting game. Let your child be who they are and just be a kid.
Two: The most important lessons you can teach your children are lessons of character. Respect: To admire and have high opinion of someone. Responsibility: A duty or job. Courage: Brave or fearless Compassion: A feeling of sympathy for and a desire to help someone who is hurting. Honesty: A person who is truthful and will not lie, steal or cheat. Diligence: To work hard and carefully Fairness: Reasonable and just. Integrity: A person who is honest and sticks to their principles no matter what.
Once their character is in place all the other issues will take care of themselves. Your children will not be perfect even with all the good you teach, they have a free will, and that’s why I love the verse in Proverbs 22: 6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
What they are taught they will remember and return to. God has a purpose and plan for each these precious children.
A quote from Lysa TerKeurst has stuck with me. She allowed her 15-year-old daughter to travel to Africa for the summer to care for AIDS babies. People questioned her decision as a parent, one woman even asked her why, her response was, “The safest place for my child is in the center of God’s will for her life, and that’s where she is.”
Another of God’s promises that I love Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'”
So parents I give you back your children, the same children you confidently entrusted to my care when they entered this school year 2013-2014. I give them back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than they were then. Although they would have attained this growth in spite of me, it has been my happy privilege to watch their personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development. I have thrilled at each new achievement, each new success, and each new expansion of self.
I give them back reluctantly; for, having spent this time together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and shall always retain a little of each other. Years from now, if we meet, your child and I, a light will spring to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel that bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today. We have lived, loved, laughed, played, cried, gotten mad, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together, I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give them back I must. Take care of them, for each of them are PRECIOUS.
Love you all, Mrs. Mary