I began with a reference to Brad Paisley's song Letter to Me, which tells about his writing of a letter to himself at the age of 17. Instead of writing to the past, though, students wrote letters to themselves in the future. What would they want to remember? Who would they want to remember? Would their dreams change? How about their vision? Would they remember that somewhere, back in Mr. Hoggatt's class, they made decisions to stay clean from tobacco, drugs, and alcohol? Would they remember to look before they leap?
Sometimes, we all need to remember our childhoods. It's good to think back on the aspirations we once had. Perhaps we are now in a place to make some of those forgotten plans flourish. Sometimes we may just need a nudge in the right direction.
In 2032 or 2036, these students should be in the workforce. While those dates sound like something out of science fiction now, they will be upon us soon enough. I had my students seal their letters in envelopes (I did not read them.), address the envelopes to themselves. They also added a note: "To be opened on..." and a date - their own birthday in one of those future Leap Years. I don't care that they remember their old fourth grade teacher when they read their own letters - that's not the goal - but it would do me proud to hear of these letters being pealed open and read. I can imagine they could bring tears and laughter for many.