To My Students at the End of the Year

A reflection at the end of the year.

I met a wise man when I was a child.

He said to me: "Use your imagination and then you will be whole."

So I saw purple trees with thick, orange leaves.

I talked with polka-dotted dinosaurs,

And ate peanut butter and jelly on a star

With squiggly green aliens.

I wondered.

I dreamed.

I created.

And I felt whole.


I met the wise man when I was a boy.

He said to me: "Use your mind and then you will be whole."

So I analyzed the size and shapes of white, puffy moths,

Carried rational numbers, understood Manifest Destiny,

And found purpose in the writings

Of books once too thick to carry.

I thought.

I argued.

I was logical.

And I felt whole.


I met the wise man when I was a man.

He said to me: "Use your heart and then you will be whole."

So I embraced passion in my marriage,

Experienced joy and sorrow, hope and despair

From the eyes of my children,

And ate all I could of life.

I cried.

I laughed.

I loved.

And I felt whole.


I did not see the wise man when I was older,

But by then, I realized he was not so wise.

For I had wondered, I had thought, and I had loved,

But he did not tell me to write it down.

And those things that were once so precious

Were now lost,


And I no longer felt whole.

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Dan Tvaroha June 12, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Mr. Kenney, I never had you as a teacher, but this tribute to your students is magnificent. Kids, write it down... A few quick notes in a daily journal and life and memories will jump off the page years from now when you are sharing your storeis with your children and grandchildren. Great pick me up message today. Thank you!!
Joel Hellmann June 12, 2012 at 01:55 PM
"Preserve your memories, they are all that's left you" Paul Simon
Jean Ann Guliano June 13, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Thank you for this, Mr. Kenney. I'm so very grateful that my son has you for a teacher. I did read this to him before he headed out the door to take his english final (of course!), and while I'm not certain he completely understood the message, I AM certain that he will remember you, forever. Thank you!
Lisa June 14, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Thank you for sharing this wisdom.


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