To the students of Washington Elementary, Edison Elementary, Centennial Elementary, and Evergreen Christian School:
You are forever a part of me. You are important. You have the power to change the world.
I am a very proud father. Ben, Maddy and Sam filled me with joy. You may think that it is because they got good grades or were really good at sports, and you would be partially correct. I am proud of them for that. But I am most proud of them for the way they loved and took care of each other, and the way they made friends and treated everyone with kindness and respect. I miss them, and I know that you, their friends, miss them too.
You are growing, changing every day. We grow our entire lives, but we grow fastest when we are young. When we lose someone close to us, it is like getting hurt. When you get hurt, you can sometimes heal and become stronger than you were before. You are better at this than adults. You heal faster, become stronger. But you are changed. You are a different person after losing someone close to you. Life can’t go back to the way it was, so you have to look forward and work on becoming stronger than you were before.
Ben, Maddy and Sam live on in me. They are a part of me. Without them, I would be a very different person. I am a better person because they are a part of me. I hope that you, their friends and classmates, feel the same.
You each have incredible power, a kind of super-power, although you may not realize it. Every day, you change the world, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in big ways. When you learn what is important in life, then you can use that superpower to make the world a better place. No one can simply tell you what is important in life – you have to invite that knowledge in. To help you understand what I believe is important, I will share two of Mr. Browne’s precepts from the book “Wonder” that Maddy shared with me.
First, if you have the choice between being right and being kind, choose to be kind.
Second, your deeds are your monuments.
Thank you all for being a part of Ben, Maddy, and Sam’s lives and for making them part of yours. Choose to be kind, and create monuments to them, to yourself and your family by doing good deeds.