Recently, the superintendency and a team from the district office visited each elementary school and read to students. This year’s book for upper elementary school children is titled, The Treasure, by Uri Shulevitz. It’s really a book about listening to your heart and pursuing your dreams. After reading the book at Uintah Elementary School, I asked a group of fourth grade children what they believed was the story’s message. One thoughtful young man concluded beautifully, “No dream is too big; no dreamer too small.” I love being taught by children!
Nothing is more vital to our work with young people than to help them explore their passions, develop their talents and pursue their dreams. I love being around children because they are so passionate about their dreams. I once read a poem posted on a teacher’s door that captures the essence of what education can be at its very best—full of infinite possibilities, imagination, and dreams. The poem boldly says to students that no matter where you’ve come from, who you’ve been, or what your circumstances are, when you enter this classroom everything is possible. Written by Jeff Moss, the poem is called, “On the Other Side of the Door.” I’ll quote a few verses,
On the other side of the door
I don’t have to go alone.
If you come, too, we can sail tall ships
And fly where the wind has flown.
We’ll find what we’re looking for
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.
The world has been inspired by one young Pakistani girl, Malala, who was shot last year by the Taliban for her determined efforts to defend girls’ rights to an education. Malala survived the attack and refuses to let her dreams be silenced. Rather, she has become an inspiration to men, women and children around the world. On July 12, 2013, Malala’s sixteenth birthday, she spoke at the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education. It was her first public speech since the attack. She said, “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.” Malala is helping girls comprehend their own dreams of learning and gaining an education. One Pakistani girl said, “Malala has made me realize that there is no limit to my opportunities.” Malala embodies what that insightful fourth grade Uintah student observed, “No dream is too big; no dreamer too small.”
For all of us who are privileged to work with young people every day, we must never forget to nurture their dreams and ambitions. More important than test scores, helping children achieve their fullest potential is our greatest opportunity. I appreciate each of your efforts to make young dreams become reality.