Let me tell you a quick story. There once was a little boy who was given a note to bring home from school. "Give this directly to your mother," the principal told him.

When the little boy's mother read the note, tears began to fill up her eyes. The note read: "Your son is too addled to be part of this school. He is unteachable. He is no longer welcome here." The boy asked his mother what the note said and she read aloud: "Your son is a genius. We don't have teachers here to teach him at the level that he requires. It would be best if you teach him at home so that he will not be held back by our limited resources."

This little boy grew up to become Thomas Edison, the genius who invented the light bulb. It took Edison over a thousand tries to invent the light bulb, but he kept trying because from the time that he was a little boy, he believed that he could. He believed that he was a genius who had something brilliant to share with the world.

Jamie Casap, a Google Global Educator, recently said, "Don't ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. Ask them what problems they want to solve. This changes the conversation to who do I want to work for to what do I need to learn to be able to do that?"

Each of us has a unique gift to share with the world and the most important lesson you may ever learn is that we see the world with eyes that no one else can see with. The world needs each of our perspectives. Bring the gifts of your own eyes to your learning. And along with your unique gifts, take these six lessons with you for the first day of school.

  1. You don't need to have all the answers; you need to have the courage to keep asking questions until you understand.

  2. We can't always control the results that we get in life, but if you focus on giving everything your best effort, the results will follow.

  3. Years from now it will not matter how popular you were; what will stay with you are the moments you were kind and gave to others. So if you see someone bullying or teasing another child, say something. Do something. Judaism teaches us that we are all responsible for one another, and if we are silent in the face of someone else's pain, we unwittingly become a part of the cause of that pain. Don't be afraid to be the only one to step forward when you know something isn't right.

  4. Don't underestimate the power of a smile or the importance of lending a helping hand, even if it's only showing the new kid the way to the lunchroom.

  5. Kindness should extend to teachers as well. You don't have to agree with everything your teachers say, but you do need to give them the respect they deserve. Teachers are people too, and they have one of the hardest jobs.

  6. View the obstacles you may encounter in school and in life as opportunities to learn how to use your mind to deal with the challenges all around you. We can choose to learn from every person we encounter and from every experience in our day.

On your first day of school, may your smile light up the lives of those around you. And may you ask questions that will lead to ever more questions.