As I watch my kids embark on their educational journey, I can’t help but get a little nostalgic and reminisce about my own childhood. My siblings and I grew up in a western suburb of Chicago. We lived in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, where basically everyone was Irish except for us, one other Italian family, and that one Indian family that lived down the road. Wish I knew I loved curry as much as I do then. Ugh. Since school has started and we are in full swing, walking to school, crunching the leaves under our feet as we go, something dawned on me. My kids and I share the common experience of walking to school. Gathering our bags, rushing out the door when the first walkers start to encroach our driveway, picking up our little friends along the way, it is like deja vu every single day. It’s crazy how cyclical life is. I look back on that period of my own with great fondness and I remember those walks like they were yesterday.
Every single day, my siblings and I would take our sweet-ass bowl cuts… if we weren’t recovering from the most recent chemical burn from our mom’s at home permanents she used to give us, pick up our fellow “Little Ball Muffins” (that’s code for nerd club) and head off to school. Every single day for all of my grade school years, Mrs. McGuire would say the same thing. “Have a good day girls, and remember, all 100’s, no one wrongs.” The McGuire sisters probably did go on to achieve perfect scores most of the time, while the Massarella’s, well, didn’t. I was more focused on the fact that I could widdle a piece of wood with my own teeth all while my mom affectionately referred to me as “goat girl.” LOL. There is a point to all of this. The point is, I remember very clearly that phrase Mrs. McGuire spoke to us every school day for 9 years of my life. In her hilarious, Mrs. Brady way, she was encouraging us to work hard. She wanted us to shoot for that perfect score. She set the bar high.
So here I am, a mom of my own first graders and like Reetz, (that’s short for Rita) I, too, want to leave my children with one final thought before we part ways for the day. Hoping my message resonates with them throughout the day and for the rest of their lives. “Work hard. Be kind. Have Fun.” Clear, to the point and totally obtainable, every single day. To me, those six words are the perfect recipe for a fruitful, joyful life. You have to work hard to achieve great things. Kindness is good for the soul. But, without joy or fun, none of those other things are worth it.
Work had. Be Kind. Have Fun.
Love It. Live It. Share It.