Scott Johnson wrote this eight years ago, when he retired from teaching. He's never really retired, you understand--people still learn from him all the time. A lot of teachers are like that, aren't they? They just kind of walk around with an invisible classroom. He said I could use this, so here it is, the Window's almost-annual gift to graduates, compliments of Scott Johnson, owner of Black Dog Coffee and renaissance man extraordinaire. Congratulations, Class of 2021. We are so proud of you. Go forth and be smart and funny and all the other things your parents and grandparents have always known you were.
I have been sitting here in front of this blank screen for quite a while now. It's a nice evening so I don't really mind, but I have been trying to find some way of telling you all just what I have learned about life since my career began. I thought I would be able to sum it all up in one grand and deep sentence but my mind is clouded with memories and so I can't really see that clearly now.
There are lots of little lessons that I would like to share and you can choose to think about them if you wish but I have long ago given up the idea that I could influence people to do what they really don't want to do. Ignore all this nonsense if you want to.
I learned that with us humans, we have to strive to give another person what they need rather than simply giving to them what we want them to need.
I learned that most of the time when fights and arguments happen, they have very little to do with what injury someone else has done to us, but rather what injury our own self esteem has done to us.
I learned that at one time or another, everyone needs to be told that everything is going to be ok.
I learned that we have to do what makes us happy and be who makes us happy because human nature cannot be fooled.
I learned that being kind to others without expecting anything in return is the best way to make ourselves complete.
I learned that some rules must to be broken but others should never be.
I learned that imagination is the most important thing to be nurtured.
I learned that reading and thinking are skills and like any skills, need to be practiced.
I learned that taking on challenges that other people provide but never challenging yourself has no worth.
I learned that we all have the power to make those around us feel good about who they are and this is the most powerful thing in the world. This power should never be withheld and the opposite of this...making those around us feel bad about who they are...should never be used.
I learned that when you have to correct a person, always let them save face by laughing with them immediately after.
I learned that karma is a real thing.
I could probably write down lots more of these little lessons but these will do for now. When I look over this list, I find there I have failed to quote one single educational standard that might appear on a standardized test sometime. I guess this is why it is time for me to go.
I am going to borrow a line from a song that I heard today to finish this off.
Never give up
Never slow down
Never grow old
Never ever die young.
Thank you all for everything you have done. I am sorry for many things. I will miss you and I will always be there to tell you...everything is going to be ok. - Johnson