Sunday, August 21, 2016

Love letter to Midvale Middle

Midvale Middle School I love and miss you so much. Many of you may already know but this summer what was supposed to be the happiest day of my with a new baby boy ended up being completely the opposite when my beautiful best friend Sharry died through a freak complication, amniotic fluid embolism. My baby boy JJ survived and is doing well. I was so excited to bring him so that you can meet him. I am completely overwhelmed as a new single parent so I have moved down to St. George where my parents and Sharry’s parents live. An amazing door opened up when I was offered a counseling job at Dixie High School. I have been working there for a couple of weeks and have pleasantly surprised with how much I like it so far. But it isn’t my Midvale family. This summer I lost the woman of my dreams and my dream job.

To the staff and teachers:
You are amazing. I have never been anywhere where a group of unique individuals work collectively for such a great cause. You are talented, fun, funny, driven, kind and compassionate. Most importantly you care deeply about the students and it shows in your work and your passion. I never remember being treated unkindly or rudely by any of you even when we over filled your classes or invaded your rooms for crazy counselor lessons. Sharry and I led very insular lives because I was completely happy being with her and that’s all I ever wanted outside of work. But it is important to me for you to know over the last four years outside of family many of you have been some of my greatest friends that made my world a better place. Please please please continue to be the fabulous, kind and inspirational people that you are. I sincerely wish you success, peace and love in your work and in your personal lives. Please stay in touch.

To my beloved students:
My heart breaks whenever I think about Midvale and how I don’t get to be there and see all of your beautiful faces every day. I sincerely love and care about you as a group and as individuals. Obviously some of you I got to know better than others but I hope all of you that I had an opportunity to work with in any capacity could tell that I cared about you...because I did and do. I know middle school is not the greatest time in life. Ask any adult if they loved middle school and the majority will scoff or at least answer in the negative. It is a time where you are stretching your budding wings, discovering what sets you apart as an incredible individual. This is incredibly exciting and can be terrifying for you and your parents. Here are some hopes and advice from your goofy counselor who fell in love with a bunch of 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
  • Be kind to each other. You never know what secret troubles others are dealing with. We are all insecure and yes it is sometimes awkward to be nice to others that aren’t your friends but you will rarely if ever regret it.
  • Be smart with technology, video games and social media. I have seen this summer the amazing goodness that can come through social media as people have reached out to me offering support in many ways. However often it can be a source of negativity, addicting and simply a distraction. Be smart with what you consume and set limits.
  • Be grateful. Look for the good. Obviously if someone or something is hurting you get help ASAP none of you deserve any kind of abuse or serious pain in your lives. But often life can simply be pretty hard and it is easier if we can train our brains to look for the good and be grateful. Keep a gratitude journal!
  • Education is important. Don’t roll your eyes at this one haha. Pretty much any big goal you have in life education will either directly or indirectly help you with that goal. Generally more education = more $, more job options, less poverty, less addictions, less abuse, greater joy
  • Get involved. I don’t care how or where. School stuff, clubs, sports, in your neighborhood, teams, service, church, anything. If you are involved in stuff you enjoy or making the world better you will have more friends and more happiness.
  • Relationships and experiences are all that matter. I know this now more than ever. We spend so much time, money and emotional energy on stuff that does not matter. If you knew you only had one more day left with your friends or family how would you act differently? Phones, video games, clothes and things are fun but do not bring lasting happiness. People that love us and we love them do bring happiness. Awesome experiences (small and big) create memories that you can constantly go back to.

I want each of you to find success in your hopes and dreams. I hope and pray that each of you will fill your life with love and meaning. That you use your unique insights, talents and passions to be a force for good, light and love in the world. It is easy to watch the news and be incredibly depressed at the state of things. But I think of you my amazing Midvale students and you fill my heart with hope. Hope that the world my beautiful baby JJ grows up in will be a better place. Thank you so much for the difference you all have made in my life. I plan on visiting MMS at least a couple of times this year but if our paths ever cross outside of that please don't hesitate to say hello.

You are in great hands with Ms Baker and Mr Eason
Love you always,
Jared Buhanan-Decker (aka Mr B-D)


  1. This is most beautiful! I love your letter to the students. I hope they accept your advice.

  2. As I'm reading your words to your students I'm thinking over and over that not only was this beautifully written but also great advice for anyone- middle school or not.
    Your writing is powerful. I wish you the best and hope all is well.

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