Here we are.
Heading to the Blue Ridge Mountains for our over-night field trip. The big trip for 5th graders where we stand out as the oldest of the school. But even though we may be the oldest, we are still kids and this trip –well, this trip is a chance to be free; a chance to be 10 years old with no regrets.
I can hear your giggles from the front of the bus; the sleepy conversations that are wondering if we will see any snakes. The boys voted on the movie, but if we are honest, we all love a good superhero to bring justice – even if it is a cartoon. A few of you are arguing over who will get the top bunk when we reach the cabin, and a couple of you are being more quiet than normal because it’s your first time away from home for the night.
While we have a lot of questions about what this trip will be like, I hope you use this time away from school to your advantage. Enjoy this trip and find joy in the little things because we have a lot of standardized testing coming up and I know you are worried.
That’s okay. I get worried too, but let’s live for today.
A test, or group of tests, will never be able to tell us who we are. It is trips like this which define who we are. Weeks like this reveal our character, our joys, and our hearts. The tests in the upcoming weeks will never be able to tell that about you.
So, I thought I would let you in on a secret.
There is a lot that these tests will show about you as a student, BUT there is so much more they will never be able to tell. So, I want you to hear from me what they won’t show and that you should never worry about a test deciding for you:
1. Your self-worth. There is no test in the world that will ever assess your self-worth. You and only you are capable of that. These tests may feel like they are able to determine your worth, but they can’t. They don’t know you. They don’t know what makes you laugh, what makes you tick, what makes you believe in greatness, and what will bring you to your knees with sadness. You are made up of more than answers to a test. “But what if I fail it?” Well, you fail it, but guess what? You are still you, and you are still loved. You are loved and adored by family and friends, and if you don’t know that, know that you have a teacher who does. You are an accumulation of your years and worthy of amazing things. Your worth cannot be measured on a scale of 1-4.
2. Your passions. There are tests out there designed to help you with jobs and what you like, but what about those of you who love math even when you don’t understand it? There are those of you that are passionate about nature, animals, peace, and so much more. The tests coming up will not define your passions. There will more than likely not even be questions that have anything to do with what you like. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth caring for and pursuing.
3. Your measure of joy. You bring joy and you give you. This is measured in laughs, hugs, secrets, and smiles. Paper and pencil, even computers, can’t show the measure of joy you give and deserve.
4. Your future. Again, there are tests to help you with this, but in the next few weeks, these tests will not define your future for you. If you want to be a doctor, be a doctor! If you want to be a video game developer or YouTube star, do that! But work for it and believe in yourself. You have a dream – so go do it. Nothing comes free these days, but if you work for what you want, what you believe in, you will succeed and if no one else believes that, then come visit me. I am forever on your side.
5. Your story. A test can’t tell your story. Only you can. You have a story that is worth telling. I know for many of you, you have lived so much more than you have needed to in your short life. You have seen and experienced events that I can never define and yet you still walk in the door every day smiling. Don’t be afraid of your story. Don’t be afraid to share it. It is beautiful because it’s about you.
You all are so much more than a test could ever determine. You are the reason I wake up each day. You make this world bearable because of your laughs, your wonders, and your hearts. Watching you grow up is one of the greatest things because I get to learn about you and learn from you. Yep, that’s right. YOU teach me!
So try not to be worried. I will also try because life is far better when we wonder about who gets to sleep in our cabin and which night is taco night at camp rather than a number on a page.