A Letter to Our Kids
Please enjoy this letter, sent out via email to our intermediate school parents this morning. What a powerful message for our children.
Dear Intermediate School Parents.
Are you ready? We are! School begins tomorrow (7:45 will be here before we know it), and many of you may have some back to school traditions to start off the new school year. Others may be exhausted from decorating lockers and back to school shopping and will do what you can to get everyone fed and in bed early. A friend shared with me a post from a parenting blog (a letter written to a son from his mom), and I have paraphrased it a bit to share with you. It is my hope that you will find a way to share it with your son or daughter as he/she gets ready to begin a new school year. Fifth grade parents, I know you received this last year, but I would love for you to share it again.
Tomorrow is a big day. Fourth (fifth) Grade – wow! When I was in fourth grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam. Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either. And I never talked to Adam, not once.
I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely. I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me; probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.
I think that people are placed in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are gifts. So please treat each one like a special gift – every single one.
Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is a signal to you to do something. Your heart is saying, Chase! Wake up! Do the right thing! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means your heart is speaking to you.
Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.
Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’s team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.
When your heart hurts for another, when you feel this compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore it. I so wish I had not ignored it with Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too.
Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.
We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done. We send you to school to practice being brave and kind. Kind people are brave people. Brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is deciding that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd. Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important. Don’t try to be the best this year, honey. Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be. Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.
I love you so much that my heart might explode. Enjoy and cherish your gifts. And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.
As I read this letter to Chase, I envision the intermediate school and all that it represents. We are a family – a family of many; all are unique in their own special way. I look forward to getting to know each and every one of your special gifts. Thank you for sharing them with us!
Here’s to a great year!
Leigh Anne Floyd