During the final day of classes last June, I took a walk through the cafeteria, this time lingering longer than usual in order to wish well to some of my (at the time) current students who would be returning next fall after a presumably safe and restful summer, and to bid "adieu" those former students I had previously had the privilege to teach who would be graduating a week later,
As I was sitting at one table kibitzing with a group of seniors, one of them reached for his loudly vibrating cell phone. When I inquired as to who the sender was, he matter-of-factly shared that it was from his friend's father, and that the text contained an inspirational quote.
I thought it interesting that the text had come not from his own father but from that of his friend, who was sitting beside him and who had simultaneously (though without the fanfare of a buzzing cellphone) received the same text. They then took turns explaining how when they were younger (the boys had grown up in the same neighborhood and had been friends for many years), one boy's father would share a saying or quote each morning as they waited to catch the school bus. It seemed that after a period of time, it had become something of a tradition. Older now, the boys no longer ride the bus to school, but the supportive and positive quotes keep coming.
Though Dad was no longer in a position to verbally wish the boys well each day, he continued, in a way, to send them off to school with an affirmative saying. At some point over the past few years, Dad had begun texting a positive thought each day, a practice which had apparently continued right up until the last day of the boys' high school experience.
It struck, though not for the first time, what I fine bunch of lads these were--certainly, not "perfect," but hard working, occasionally goofy, caring and worthy of respect--"regular" teens. I then began to wonder what role, if any, receiving these daily positive and/or inspirational messages each day, at last in the case of some of the boys, from someone other than a parent (from whom unconditional love is to be expected on some level) had had on their character.
I am often reminded of this slice 'o life when I arrive early in the morning at school before having had the opportunity to touch base with my son, and, hoping that he, too, has a great day of school, I send him a quick text... of course, sometimes he beats me to the punch.