Sunday, October 24, 2004

Letter to Allison

I think I have mentioned before that our oldest, Allison, is off to college now and was taking part in a retreat this weekend. We had been contacted by the retreat group to prepare a letter that she would open during the retreat. Oh, and "SPRING" is part of the retreat process and meant to be among other things, a new beginning, literally, so I decided to play with it. After some thought, here is what we composed and Allison read:


Welcome to SPRING! Yes, it is October 2004 and it is really autumn, the leaves dropping when they have given all the color they can. But this is a new world, another time zone that you are living in, way up there on the edge of the city of Worcester, in the college called Assumption, the place where you are beginning where your father left off, literally.

With apologies to Helen of Troy, it is your name that launches a thousand memories. One needs only to mention it, and the stories come forth. Your mother recently at the rehearsal for Carolyn’s confirmation was asked how you are doing by Mrs. Picillo. She went on to say how good you were at helping people, what a natural teacher you would make. At the high school parents night to meet with your teachers last year, your mother returned somewhat overwhelmed by the stories all your teacher’s told. They had no time for the grades. They do not matter in the long run. That is correct, grades are momentary records, some more permanent than others but they are really more like the thermometer that takes your temperature; it is what it is for that moment. What you do with it is more important.

What are you going to do? Who knows? You are about to find out. That is your challenge. You have to recognize what you have already learned. Your survival kit is fairly well prepared. Remember the book in the Discovery Store? Your mother and I will take some credit (and great pride) in the preparations. Making a fire, camping, flying a kite, making snow angels; the book list was a hundred items long. We were able to check off a good deal of them. Yes, we still need to make ice cream from scratch. We did give it a good try and I think we succeeded because we had help. Our family and friends helped us along the way. The list is long but you recall that Mr. Bastian showed you how to fish and Grandpa made the firefly ring for you.

"We attend too many seminars. We take too many classes. We buy too many books. We play too many audios in our cars. It's all wasted if we're unclear on what learning really is: Learning is not attending, listening or reading. Nor is it merely gaining knowledge. Learning is really about translating knowing what to do into doing what we know. It is about changing. If we have not changed we have not learned. What have you learned today?" - John G. Miller, QBQ

So each day you wake up and make a new start; a renewal of sorts. You add something to what was Allison to make the new Allison. Maintain the family and friend connections you have. Grow new ones along the way. Continue to add to your bag of tricks. While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, learning something new each day, gives you something else to share, to help color the world you move in, to make your mark on those you meet. The world is changing, you need to grow and change with it.

We love the Allison we know. We love the Allison you are becoming!

Mom & Dad

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