Dear Julian

education, photography

Dear Julian,

I am holding you to a high standard.

Yes, you could say I’m being picky. Writing your first and last name on every paper you turn in is required in this classroom. You are not a rock star, yet. Once upon a time, even Oprah, Bono and Rihanna had to write their full names in English class. Someday, when the world knows you as “Julian, just Julian,” you are welcome to perfect your autograph. Until then, I expect to be able to read a legible version of your first and last name at the top of every paper I receive from you.

The rumors are true. I’m cracking down on spelling and punctuation as well. By this point in the year, we should all know the difference between “their, they’re and there.” Words that are included in the reading passage must be spelled correctly in your answer. And for goodness’ sake, you must have a period, exclamation point or question mark at the end of every sentence and a capital letter at the beginning of the next one! By the way, abbreviations are not suitable for academic writing. LOL. #smh

Why does this matter?

I’m not trying to torture you with nit-picky details. I’m training you for excellence.

Think about playing soccer. Imagine that Coach Maddox shows up to practice today and instructs you all to run a warm-up lap around the field.

Let’s say that instead of running your lap, you decide to walk, and Coach doesn’t stop you. What happens next week? You’ll probably walk again and again until maybe you even stop taking a warm-up lap at all.

Before long, you’ll be sitting in the grass, staring at your cleats, while your teammates become faster and stronger with each lap they run. All you’ll become is smug and stagnant. While it probably seems like you got an easy break, the small habit of choosing not to run will negatively affect you when it matters most.

If Coach did not hold you responsible for showing up to practice and putting in your best effort every time, you would not develop the discipline and skills you need to be excellent.

Do you think Messi sits out his warm-up lap? Or is he the one leading his team in both the daily disciplines at practice and the number of goals scored on an international stage?

Excellence is in the small details. Academically and athletically, you have the potential to be great. Start by taking pride in your work. I’ll know you’re proud of what you turn into me when I see your full name, best handwriting and spelling.

As small and significant as a warm-up lap, these habits will serve you well if you invest in them.

All my love,

-Ms. Jackson

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