May 21, 2016

A Letter to the Kindergarteners-To-Be

A few weeks ago, I joined members of the Friends of Neill Public Library to participate in Pullman Public School’s Kindergarten Registration. I helped welcome the soon-to-be students and give them a new book to take home to keep and read.  You can imagine the smiles on little (and big) faces to receive these sweet literary gifts from the Friends.

Before the registration process officially started, I looked around and saw tables of information and activities for excited and nervous folks, young and old. My eyes were riveted to a chalkboard sign saying “Welcome Class of 2029”.  Yes, these four and five-year-olds will graduate in the year 2029!  Let’s just take a moment and let that sink in!

All I could think about was my own high school graduation way, way back in good ol’ 1974.  Where did time go and how did it all happen so fast?  I have no answers, but I do have some thoughts I want to share with the sweet babies who are about to take the leap into their formal education. 

Dear Kindergartener-To-Be:
As you start school with your eyes on 2029, these are my hopes for you:
That the world we all share – the very world your generation will lead -will be characterized by peace and kindness rather than war and divisiveness.  To help make that happen, be the person who is kind, compassionate, and inclusive of others.  And remember no matter how someone looks or sounds or where they live or what they do, everybody is more like you than not.  Let the people around you know they matter, because they do.

I also hope you will keep your sense of wonder. Let yourself keep learning - whether you’re in a classroom, a forest, a grocery store, a boat, a treehouse, and of course, a library. Be open, be curious.  And tell yourself it’s good to take risks and to be willing to make mistake after mistake as you learn.

May you choose to have more experiences than things.  Money comes and money goes.  Things are just things and nothing more.  And no amount of wealth can buy your health or your happiness.  Make memories to hold onto you so when you’re past middle-age, like me, you are grateful for the times you had rather than the purchases you made. 

You will soon discover that life is not fair – in any way whatsoever.  It’s up and down and round and round, over and over and over.  Just know that there is significance in everything – good, bad and in-between.  So,  choose love over fear at each moment and your life will always be filled with deep meaning.

So, good luck, dear kindergarteners-to-be!  This is your world – dive in with both feet and open arms. And who knows?  Maybe I’ll get to celebrate with you as you move your tassel in just 13 short years!

Kathleen Ahern
Children's Librarian

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