First, you deserve to know that I am grateful for you. I am grateful for everything about you. Yes, even the not-so-great things. Being exactly who you are has given me an experience as a teacher that very few people get to have. You share your stories, your struggles, your successes, and your slip-ups with me, and it lets me know you’re human. It lets me know that, really, we’re not that different from one another. So, thank you for that. Thank you for being exactly the way you are, the way you are supposed to be. You’re perfect that way.
Second, you deserve to know that you are literally the reason I come to work every day. I don’t do this for the money, I could have made more as an accountant. I do this because you add a richness to my day that can’t be bought. You add relationships to my life that change the way I think, act, and live. My wife and I talk about your stories and your experiences. A lot of times we laugh as we reminisce and compare our crazy teenage years, and sometimes we cry because we don’t think teenagers should have to experience some of the stories your life books have written.
Third, you deserve to know that I believe in you. You might need some refining and perhaps you need to learn some things, but guess what, we all do. I believe in you because I’ve seen not only your potential, but the product of your effort. I’ve seen the manifestation of your work. And let me just say this: You have everything you need to be successful. Period. Never forget that.
Finally, and most importantly, you deserve to know that I love you. That’s right, I said it. I love you. I consider you family. Family isn’t defined by blood, it’s defined by love. If you ever need anything, my wife and I are here for you. 5, 10, 15 years from now, we’ll be here for you.
Thank you for making my “job” one of the best in the world. I am beyond fortunate because of you. Keep being exactly who you want to be.