Today I spoke in Trenden's fifth grade class at Riverdale Elementary School. I talked about the challenges of the last year and what we learned from them. Fifth graders are awesome, they are old enough to understand the world around them, without being too tainted by that world.
They also ask very good questions. They are thinkers. They are processors. They are do-ers. I hope that the time we spent together today will help them make good choices in their lives and take control of their actions. I hope they know that they won't have control over everything that happens to them, but they will ALWAYS have control over how they act and react. I hope they understand that some decisions don't come with a second chance, so the choice they make the FIRST time is critical. I hope they know that all people are the same on the inside, no matter how they look on the outside.
And, when they look at my Trenden, I hope they get a glimpse of a young boy who has gone through so much this last year, and come out of it as a young man. Of course, they won't "get" that part, but at least I do. I can see how he has changed, matured, grown and lost a bit of innocence. But, in place of the innocence, he has gained faith, courage, strength, compassion and service, which are far more powerful than innocence.
Today, hopefully at least one young person will go away from school having learned a lesson that will save them heartache or hardship in life. What a blessing it is to be the instrument to teach such a lesson! I would do this every day if I could!