Dear 9th Grader...
Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.
The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.
The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.
At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!
The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger. The butterfly quickly emerged!
As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body.
But neither happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It never was able to fly…
As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly. (Author Unknown)
Dear 9th Grader:
As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly. Don’t give up when the “going gets tough”! As you can see from the story above, we cannot make the mistake of making everything easy for you. In doing so, we would be setting you up for failure in the future. Does that mean that we won’t help you? Of course not! We are here to support your journey along the way, but you MUST do your part. Now that you are in High School, you can take responsibility for your future.
Remember these 3 things:
Honor your Name: In life, there will be times when you may be rich or poor, healthy or sick, the boss or at the bottom of the command chain, but throughout every experience, you have your name. Your name when attached to assignments, performances, athletic events, publications, and even on social media, is indicating your stamp of approval. When you sign your name to something, you are telling the world that you own it! Make sure that what you choose to own brings you honor instead of shame. Make yourself proud, because no one else can or will protect your name or guard your reputation as valiantly as you can.
Find a Balance: Work hard and play hard. Focus on your goals, but enjoy the journey. Studying is essential, but so it time with family and friends. Delayed gratification can be great because it often makes the reward at the end even sweeter. However, don’t miss out on amazing opportunities along the way by obsessing over every step of your current path. Keep your options open …you never know what gifts you may discover within yourself.
Don’t be afraid to Ask for Help: It is crucial that you know the difference between asking for help versus asking someone to do it for you! Asking for help indicates that you have tried your best, exhausted your own options and are now willing to approach the problem from another perspective. It does NOT mean that you aren’t as smart as everyone else. In fact, asking for help shows maturity, ambition, bravery, and perseverance. Perseverance is a common characteristic of leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes, and those who have reached the level of success, of which some only dream. By asking for help, you are proving to each of us that you are willing to face the struggle and are committed to mastering any obstacle no matter how tough.
As Educators, we are beside you, in your journey through school, wishing that we could ease your struggles, but knowing that your future success is dependent on our ability to teach, support and inspire you to persevere! We can’t wait to see you fly!!