Choose to Have The Best First Day

I am very “frugal” about the blogs I post / give.  I realize I am THE blog writer with NOT a lot of readers.  I am lucky if I have 10 readers, but I am blessed to be able share my thoughts and afford this medium to share my thoughts.

So, as I write this blog for us (me and my 10 readers), I have the Milwaukee Police Chief press conference on TV.  It is August 14, 2016 at 1:02pm (PST).  What a summer we have had.  Huh?  I am fifty years-old and I know there are similar times in history.  For gosh sakes, there was the awful year of 1968 with the murders / assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.  I was two years-old.  I have been alive long enough to have some really terrible world / nationwide events.  But, let me just give you – off the top of my head – what happened from June 9, 2016 (Dublin High School, California graduation) till August 14, 2016 1:04pm(PST).  Again, I am sure there are more… sadly.

June 12, 2016 – Orlando Club Shooting

June 28, 2016 – Istanbul, Turkey; Airport bombing

July 3, 2016 – Baghdad, Iraq; Suicide Bombing killing over 200 people

July 5, 2016 – Alton Sterling dies after being shot by the police leading to violence in streets

July 6, 2016 – Philando Castle dies after being shot by the police leading to violence in streets

July 7, 2016 – Dallas Police Officers Murdered

July 14, 2016 – Nice, France; Driver of Truck kills at least eighty-four people

July 17, 2016 – Baton Rouge Police Officers Murdered

July 21, 2016 – Donald Trump is officially elected as Republican Nominee for President

July 28, 2016 – Hillary Clinton is officially elected as Democrat Nominee for President

So, tomorrow is the first day of school.  The beginning of my twenty-eighth year of teaching high school music.  I look at this summer / year and I wonder, “what are these young adults (teenagers) thinking of the world?”  I mean, seriously.  What does a young person think of their future when they see all this crap happening?  I can only imagine.  With our 24/7 news cycle and a cyber world with all sorts of crap, our young adults need their adults to be adults!

We need to remind the young adults that what is happening today is awful, but for gosh sakes, put it in perspective.  Don’t ignore it.  Don’t brush it off.  Put it in perspective.

I live in Dublin, California.  All I have listed certainly is a distance away.  However, many of us and therefore our younger folks think these acts are moments away from happening to us.  When in reality, that is the furthest from the truth.

We need to be positive role models for our children.  Reassure them that we are living in a safe world.  Enjoy life.  Make the most of life.  None of the victims listed in the events that happened this summer planned for their tragedy.  We need to live life frankly as if each day was someone’s final day.  Today is the only August 14, 2016 we have and what am I doing?  I am giving you some of my only August 14, 2016.  I want this message to resonate with one person.  The message?  MAKE THE MOST OF TODAY.  Today can lead to a great tomorrow.

Let the first day of school tomorrow (August 15, 2016) be the best first day of school you have ever had.  I am ready to enjoy the best first day of school and it’s my twenty-eighth first day of school!  I have the rehearsal room cleaned.  I have the candle warmer all cleaned up and ready to help make that rehearsal room survive all the teen smells they bring.  My new handbook rocks!  My message for tomorrow is going to be awesome:  YOU HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED IN THIS HANDBOOK.  YOU FOLLOW IT, YOU WIN.  YOU DON’T FOLLOW IT, YOU LOSE.  IT’S YOUR CHOICE.  And that is so important:  IT’S YOUR CHOICE.

As I look at the events that happened between June 9, 2016 Dublin High School Graduation and August 15, 2016 First Day of School, including the passing (June 23, 2016) of our wonderful Aunt Anne and the passing (August 10, 2016) of one of my mentors, Russell Campbell, I can choose to say, “our world is crap” or I can choose to say, “Anne helped give me an incredible life.  Russ gave me so much incredible information about being a better band director.  Thank you God for Anne & Russ.  Please pray for our police and thank God for those police who sacrifice their lives and those who choose to be in a profession that could cost them their life every day.”  I have the power to choose how to view tragedy / sad events.  You have the power to choose.

Choose wisely.  Why?  Because there are children watching you.  Let them see a positive attitude from you. Let the children see how you respond to tragedy – be it in another city / state / country.  Let them see you have compassion.  THEY ARE WATCHING US.  For the children to put things in perspective they need us to put things in perspective.  So, I will leave this with you.  Please share this with your children. 

When I was young and free my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.  As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.  But it, too, seemed immovable.  As I grew in my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.  And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realized:  If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.  From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed my world.  – words on the tomb of an Anglican bishop who lived in the eleventh century

Can you imagine that this was written in the year 10XX and in the year 2016 we still need this philosophy.  We may need this passage more than ever.  But, what is cool or possibly give us some peace of mind, is this has been something that “man” has been wrestling with for over 1,000 years – if not longer.  We need to look in the mirror.  We need to be the first person to change.  I still struggle with that change.  I don’t have that much more time to change.  You are probably younger than me.  CHANGE NOW!!  Get it together!!  You have many more years to enjoy that change. Choose to have the best first day of school.  You only have so many.