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Dear World — A Poem For The First Day Of School

We played this this morning, and we had a few requests to post it.

It’s a poem I grew up listening to every year on the first day of school and really wanted to share it with everyone here. While I can’t post the audio, I can post the transcription!

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DEAR WORLD,

I bequeath to you today one little girl … in a crispy dress … with two blue eyes … and a happy laugh that ripples all day long and a flash of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you’ll treat her well.

She’s slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning … and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine. Prim and proud she’ll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say “Good Bye”… and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse.

Now she’ll learn to stand in line … and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She’ll learn to tune her ears to the sounds of school-bells … and deadlines … and she’ll learn to giggle … and gossip … and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy across the aisle sticks out his tongue at her.

And now she’ll learn to be jealous. And now she’ll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she’ll learn how not to cry.

No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in a sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn to kiss lilac blossoms in the morning dew.

No, now she’ll worry about important things.

Like grades … and which dress to wear … and who’s best friend is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls.

And now she’ll find new heroes.

For five full years now I’ve been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and father and friend. Now she’ll learn to share her worship with her teachers … which is only right. But, no longer will I be the smartest man in the whole world.

Today when that school bell rings for the first time … she’ll learn what it means to be a member of a group. With all it’s privileges. And it’s disadvantages too.

She’ll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud. Or kiss dogs. Or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms. Or even watch ants scurry across cracks in the summer sidewalk.

Today she’ll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I’ll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to become a woman.

So, World. I bequeath to you today one little girl … in a crispy dress … with two blue eyes and a happy laugh that ripples all day long … and a flash of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you’ll treat her well.

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