Opening Words from Sun. May 17: “Beginnings and Endings” by Krystal White

Hi, everyone. Happy Sunday!

This month’s theme of Beginnings and Endings hits home for me especially this weekend, which is graduation for so many kiddos. After teaching school for 20 years, the month of May tastes bittersweet to me, because my 8 th grade students are not just growing up but they are also young adults growing away. As their teacher, I want to hold on to them – these amazing 13 and 14 years-olds who have finally let down their guards, learned to trust me, and risked sharing from places of vulnerability – but I can’t hold on to them. My job is to prepare them to move on: on to the next grade level, on to their next adventure. I love the people they are now, but I cannot trap them into being those people forever. They are growing into the people they are becoming, which means this year’s interactions are but a stepping stone in their development of becoming their future selves.

Opportunities are out there, and I’m so excited for my students to take hold of them and do wonderful things in the world, and I’m so sad to watch them go forth knowing that I might never see them again. I’ve said good-luck-and-good-bye to over 1000 students at this point and I continue to be amazed at how much it hurts to let them go. We have the capacity to grieve through loss and transition while simultaneously opening up to new beginnings and new relationships. Each August, I’m thrilled to meet my new students and I willingly open up my heart again and again to a brand-new batch of amazing human beings. But, right now, in this absolutely bittersweet month of May, it’s hard. But do not mind my frequent tears. I’m just another teacher proudly celebrating the accomplishments and hard work of people I love dearly, my students. This ending is also their beginning, and it’s such an honor to be part of their journey. Thank you.

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.