Here is an Extra Credit Assignment for Your Students

I love to give students options to improve their grade by assigning voluntary extra credit projects.  I have often seen that students who are not the best at participating in class are willing to do extra assignments to help improve their grade.  Whenever I create an extra credit project, I intend for it to be something students will have to be creative about and put in time and thought. 

This particular assignment works well for the individual student, but I also like to suggest it as a parent child project.  We have all heard parents say to a child, just do what I say.  Sometimes it is because there is no time to explain, other times it may be because the parent does not want to explain why they said NO to a request.  This project is centered around the lyrics of the song “Dear Younger Me” by MercyMe. 

It is a Christian song, but the lyrics tell a story of a person looking back and wondering about the lessons from his life.  He is wishing he could write a letter to his younger self and then trying to figure out what and how he would say what he wants to say.  Because it is a story many parents think about and some of your students may already know about, I let my students decide if they want to talk about this with their parents.  It can open up a wonderful dialogue between students and parents.  It can give parents an opportunity to express concerns they have for the child because of their own past experience or experiences from other family and friends.  (An Inspirational Thought:  A quote fromThomas Sowell -- “The old are not really smarter than the young, in terms of sheer brain power.  It is just that we have already made the kinds of mistakes that the young are about to make, and we have already suffered the consequences that the young are going to suffer, if they disregard the record of the past.”

I print out the first couple of stanzas to give the students.  Then I ask them to write a letter to themselves that they will keep for another 10 years.  In 10 years, they should review what they wrote and then look back and see if the letter actually made or could have made a positive difference in their life. 

Here is the part of the song I use:
Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me,
Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me
If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard
You might also like to add one of the last stanzas:
Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me
Dear Younger Me lyrics © Music Services, Inc

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