One spring towards the end of my teaching career, I had a parent request a meeting. All educators know that when parents request a meeting, it usually means that they want to complain about something that you did. I didn’t know what this parent wanted to complain about, but I braced for it. She handed me a blank piece of paper and asked me to write a letter to her daughter. She explained that she had started doing this for her daughter in kindergarten. Every year she had the teacher write a letter to the daughter as an eighteen-year-old. She was compiling the letters in a binder, and as a graduation present, she would give her the binder with letters from her thirteen years of school. Anybody who knows me can guess that I shed a tear, both at the thoughtfulness of this mom and at the honor to be able to write a letter like that to a student. I decided then and there that when I had kids I would do the same thing.
Somewhere along the line we decided that, instead of just doing letters, we would get a copy of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! for each of our kids. I would have their teachers