“Come here. Let’s straighten that collar. Perfect. Have you brushed your hair? Bag packed? Okay. Let’s have a look at you. Awww, we’re so proud. You look so…grown up. Hold on. Let’s get the camera.
(wipes away a tear) We just have to take a picture. Okay. Stand there. That’s it. Stay still. Smile. Let’s see those teeth.”
“Cheeky. And again.”
“Now, say “Truprint”.”
Lesson 1: Life isn’t just about the holidays
It’s September. The next few months will be difficult for many. The world will look different. Dark. Bleak. Scary even.
Freedom, fun, enjoyment, will all appear to be at an end. Whatever happened during the past few months will soon be forgotten. For the immediate future, life will appear boring, tiresome, unrewarding, unrelenting. Grown-up.
Chances are this will happen at the same time every year for many years to come.
Summer is ending. School is starting. Sorry.
Lesson 2: Ignore labels
It’s a season of firsts and lasts. First day at school/college. First day back at school/work. Last day of the holidays. Last day of fun. Yin and Yang.
It will probably look like that for most of our lives. It might not seem fair. It might make you sad and anxious. But, remember this.
The last of something is not always bad. The first of something is not always good. And vice versa.
There are no lasts. There are no firsts. There is just… change. Just life in motion. From one moment to the next.
It’s uncomfortable, but try not to fight it. Try to embrace it.
Label less. Live more.
Lesson 3: School first TEACHES and then TESTS us
Laughter. Play. Bonding. Friendship. Conformity. Non-conformity. Rules and breaking them. Community. Tolerance. Discovering yourself. Developing a personality.
Finding out what you’re good at and, what you’re not so good at. Deciding what you do and don’t like. Learning what you enjoy, what inspires, what motivates, and what excites you.
Being curious. Being creative. Being brave at both. And, just as important, being taught.
Being led by people that took a similar journey before you, when every direction was possible.
School won’t teach you how to live a better life. But, it can show you how to get there.
Lesson 4: Life first TESTS and then TEACHES us
Learning about our planet and our place in the universe. Learning about ourselves and our humanity. Learning about love, loss and a dozen other emotions.
Hoping what we learn stays with us. Hoping what we learn makes a difference. Hoping we can learn from, and rise above, our mistakes.
Life is the greatest teacher of all, provided we are willing students.
Life cannot teach you to like school. But, it can show you what you learnt there.
Lesson 5: Talent nurtures practice. Practice nurtures talent.
Some of our greatest minds were/are school dropouts. Yet, many more weren’t. We all have something we’re good at. We just need to find it.
And then, get better at it. And we need to do it in an environment where it is encouraged, not criticised. Where it will thrive, not die.
Be yourself. Be your best self. Be yourself better, every day.
Lesson 6: It’s never too late until it is
In an average lifetime, between 10-15% of our entire waking hours will be spent at school. For many, it’s one of our earliest memories. It may also be one of our worst, or best.
But, regardless of what we think of it, we must record it. We must remember it. We must preserve it.
Why? Because it’s massively important. It’s the start of a tremendous life-long learning journey.
And, perhaps all we should hope for when we look back at the end of that journey, is that our happiness, health, confidence, resilience, optimism, curiosity and creativity carry on through into adulthood.
With no bullying. With no oppression. With no inequality. And, with no regrets.
Such a tiny word, and yet it captures some of the biggest moments of our lives.
Get out your old school photographs. Hopefully, you have some still. Take a good long look at your younger self.
Don’t think of who you could have been. Don’t think about what you failed to achieve. Don’t listen to that voice that whispers, “Oh, if only I knew then what I know now.”
It’s a bully. It always has been. And, when you look back, remember this: it’s only 10-15% of our waking lives. The other 85-90% is ours to do with what we like. That’s so important. Because it’s completely up to us.
Never stop learning. Never stop being curious. Never stop trying.
Don’t take what you’re told for granted. Discover things for yourself. Open yourself up to the possibility of learning something new every day. Teach others what you’ve learnt. And, if they teach, listen.
Be your greatest teacher and your best student. It’s never too late to learn something until it is.
“Sit down, please. Pay attention. No talking. Open your books and turn to Lesson 1. Today, we’ll be reading a story we all know well. George, can you begin?”
“Once upon a time, near the beginning of Memory Lane, there was a school. I can see it now. I was…”
Truprint: It’s only learnt if it’s remembered