An Open Letter

In a race
Of who is the best
Of who is the fastest, the smartest,
The busiest, the strongest,
The one who slept the least,
The one who ate the fastest,
Would you really want to win?

In a race
Of who gets to the top
Of who is the first, the leading,
The champion, the all-around,
The one who made mistakes the least, if not none,
The one whose name stays on the list to show everyone,
Would you really want to win?

When nothing is valued more than where you are
With respect to where everyone is
In a list of names– I ask
Is it all worth it?
Is it all that’s worth it?

Yes, it is, perhaps, in a way–
As our parent’s parents say–
To shape your future
To ensure
That you don’t suffer the same way they did
And yet, you do suffer
In a completely different way–
The weight of the books on your shoulders
As heavy as your eyes  that cry out for sleep
As pale as your skin that never got the taste of the sun
As limited as your vision that can’t go beyond the printed text–

Listen!

Learning is life
And life lessons never end, but–
Don’t, for a second think
That it’s all in your books
Or from your teachers’ mouths
Or in the words on the walls
That did nothing more than cover those eyes
From what lies outside,
Beyond the comfort of your seat
And the order in your class.

No–

My dear student
I come to you as a fellow student
A student in the never ending lessons in life;
There is more to it than that–
There is more you’d learn outside
Not from anyone you know, not always.

There is more to life than that, look:
Have you touched the dew on the leaf from the rain last night?
Have your eyes seen the wonder of the world that no words could describe–
Have you smiled for no reason and just felt the breeze wrap you within its arms?

It hurts me to see
That you have deliberately caged yourself
In the thought that nothing else matters
Than to be on top, always on top–
Than  to lead, not knowing what you truly need.

So,
Young as you are right now–
Get up and know there is a vast world out there
Remember not where you are with respect to where others are, but
With respect to where you were.
Remember that the world and everything
Is yours for the taking
So bask in it–
The glory of living
The real meaning of learning
The beauty of just being.

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