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I Wish You Bad Luck

posted Oct 13, 2017, 9:14 AM by Brenda Williams
I consider myself blessed to have parents, who despite my current age of 38, still take the time to clip articles out of the newspaper to share with their son. Every time my Mom and Dad venture to the North Country to visit the grandkids, they come armed with an entire stack of articles ranging from the latest news from our hometown Isanti County News, all the way to Op-Ed pieces out of the Star Tribune (and everything in between).

As I thumbed through a pile of articles this summer, I stumbled across an article titled “I wish you bad luck, so that you may grow.” (Opinion, pg. 4 Star Tribune, July 16, 2017) Intrigued by the title, I dove deeper. The piece centered around a short summary of a commencement speech delivered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to an audience at an 8th grade graduation at Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire.

Much like any other commencement speech, there was the traditional recognition of parents, discussions of the future, etc. Not long into the address though, Chief Justice Roberts shifted his focus. “An important stage of your life is behind you. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you it is the easiest stage of your life, but it is in the books.” He went on to state: “Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that and I’ll tell you why.”

“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly-so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal-because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.” He then challenged the young adults through his words stating, “Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time - so that you don’t take your friends for granted. I wish you bad luck again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.” You can read the full article on your own (or better yet, search it on YouTube).

We talk at great lengths here at Pequot Lakes Middle School about partnering with school and home in helping to raise our students. Please take an opportunity to engage in what an educator calls a “Teachable Moment” by helping your child to navigate these tough situations. When faced with hurdles at school, we engage our students in conversations about helping them through “Struggle Strategies” when they are faced with adversity. It isn’t always an easy conversation, but we owe it to our kids to engage in the opportunity.

I signed up for the early October Patriot Perspective slot with no idea that this impactful article was going to be inserted into my life. Yes, we could write at great lengths celebrating a great start to a school year at, our spring test results, the fact that we had approximately 2/3 of our staff participate in phenomenal professional development this summer, etc., but we feel this message is perhaps a more important one. Join us in taking “bad luck” and turning it into a life lesson learned; striving every day to help our students to be resilient and reflective young men and women.

Oh, and thanks Mom and Dad, for taking the time to clip those articles!

-- Mike O'Neil, Middle School Principal