yesterday a teenage boy buried his head in my neck and cried. i had to coach him through his breathing as he told me he was “supposed to be aborted”. to him, getting good grades equated to mattering. to him, my mentioning that he needed to be more succinct in his essay (he’s a creative; prone to storytelling) was a comment on his character. my heart is breaking for this beautiful, vibrant boy. i know that i have a number of young people, of students, who follow me and i just need to tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, your grades do not determine your worth. i apologise for the education system, for standardised testing, for government-mandated scoring systems. i am so sorry. but please, please, listen to me when i tell you that you are not your grades. that your value exists outside of how well you understand grammar, or pythagorus’ theorem, or photosynthesis. you are a living, breathing, feeling, beautiful entity and that has nothing to do with a letter grade. did you make someone smile today? what are you passionate about? how many times a day do you tell people you love them? what do you admire in your friends? what do you want to be when you grow up (don’t worry about how you’re gonna get there, just tell me what)? were you kind today? when you lie in bed at night, what do you wish to dream about? what gets you out of bed in the morning? what are your guilty pleasures? your idiosyncrasies? your nervous ticks? do you let yourself love out loud? are you happy with your choices? are you just happy? don’t tell me what you got in english; tell me what you love to read. don’t tell me what you got in maths; tell me precisely how much you need to save before you can afford a brand new whatever-it-is. don’t tell me what you got in history; tell me how you binge watched the tudors. don’t tell me what you got in health; tell me what doctor google diagnosed you with and what song you asked your best friend to play at your funeral. don’t tell me what you got in science; tell me about that time you climbed your next door neighbour’s tree and sat there watching the world breathe. don’t tell me about your grades. tell me about you. please.
Some days, I like to think that I am a favorite hero in a book of a child. Other days, I like to think that I am the reason why the world is not making any good progress. And today, I did not think of anything but to be the only one you love passionately.