Dear Sarah, my daughter, on the eve of your Leaving Cert,
I know you think that the entire outcome of your life hinges on how well you do in your exams.
I know you think that the grades that you feel you have to get will determine your happiness or unhappiness in life.
I know you think that your performance during your exams will open or close doors for you.
It won’t. (Really, it won’t: there are thousands of doors you don’t even know exist – and you will choose one of them for you!)
You may think that a certain outcome will open the particular door that you feel you most want in life.
It might or it might not open that door. But your happiness does not depend on that door opening.
You may think that the grades you get will determine how clever or otherwise you are.
You may think that others will judge you by the points you get in your Leaving Cert.
They won’t. (And those who do are not wise, so you can discount their judgments anyway.)
You might feel like a sword is hanging over your head.
If you get the grades you want, they might or might not lead to happiness.
You could learn much more in life and be far happier if you get fewer grades than you’d like.
You know lots. Of course there is lots more that you don’t know. So in the celebrations of knowledge which are about to begin try your best to celebrate on the page what you know.
And, by the way, you know far more than you realise.
And you also know far less! (Since the more any of us know, the more we realise how relatively little we know.)
Don’t expect to be able to share everything you know: nobody can do that.
Live the moment. Live this moment.
Enjoy this moment, and, yes, enjoy, really enjoy, these celebrations of what you know. See them as your opportunity to do yourself justice – because you do deserve to do well. Just don’t worry how anyone else estimates what well means for you.
Detach! Don’t worry about the outcome. Just live in the moment. Enjoy every moment!
Love, Your Dad. 7 June 2016