Today many of the students in Atlanta start back to school after their summer break. I remember as a kid how excited I was about getting back to school. The night before each year’s first day I would be so excited I could barely sleep. Then, I would get a little touch of nervousness as I boarded the big yellow bus to take me to school. But, then I would arrive and whatever fears I had would slip quickly away. I discovered I liked new.
I liked making new friends. And, of course, I loved seeing my old friends. But, each year I knew I would meet someone new who would become a great friend. That always made the first day special.
I loved learning new things. I knew I was going to have some new teachers who were going to teach me some new things. That excited me. Every teacher wasn’t amazing but many were. Men and women with names like Clardy, Walker, Wiley, Butler, Crane, Smith, Surfas and Plunkett all had a huge influence in my life. I knew each year teachers would help me learn new concepts, facts and formulas. What would I experience over the next nine months? I didn’t know but I was really excited about the opportunity.
Here it is 36 years after my last high school class and I still love those two things. If I can make a new friend or learn something new I feel fulfilled. That’s not a bad commitment for you to make today. Make it a priority to meet new people and cultivate new friendships. It will enrich your life greatly. And, then make it a priority to learn something new. Don’t stop growing. I try to remember when something stops growing it begins to die. I want to be learning and growing as long as I possibly can. I also tell myself regularly that leaders are learners. If I want to lead others I must be growing myself.
Six of my eight grandkids will start back to school today. I hope they are as excited as I used to be.