Sunday, August 23, 2015

An open letter to my son before first grade.

Hi Will,

It's me, Mom. I wrote your sister a letter the night before she started kindergarten. You can read it here if you would like to. I was going to write you one last year, but I didn't. As you well know, you have a summer birthday and we moved to a new state just a few weeks before you were to start Kindergarten. I couldn't throw a barely five year old into a new school with a large class, so we enrolled you in a private Kindergarten with a much smaller class size. It was the perfect fit for you.

And I didn't write you a letter then because I really thought you might do Kindergarten again. I didn't know. I wanted to give you the year to see. Every child is different. I wanted to wait and see who you were and whether or not that would be a good thing for you.

And I agonized. And I sought advice. A lot of advice. And I prayed. I prayed and asked for wisdom and guidance more than you will ever know. But you know what, Will? Your father and I decided that you were more than ready. We know how smart you are and we want you to always believe in yourself and your abilities as well.

But as you start on this new chapter in your life, I want you to know that your time at home with me during your formative years have been the best of my life. I have treasured every time we had "Buddy buddy time" and every time you wanted to sit and read or build train tracks with me. I can't even count how many episodes of Thomas I have watched or how many time I took you out just to ride around and look for horses or trains.

I have loved playing monster with you and taking you out in the backyard to play catch. I will miss afternoons spent
with you painting on our back porch and mornings where we walked your older sister to school. I loved every time you wanted to play checkers (one more time!) and also when you wanted to play chess and I realized that I couldn't keep up with you. I loved sitting on our porch in the mornings while Lainey crawled around and you rode your bike to your boundaries. I have cherished mornings snuggles while watching cartoons and evenings poring over train books and reading, "Go Dog Go." There is a part of me that wants to keep you a baby forever, but that wouldn't be fair to you. You are one of the smartest and most capable kids I have ever seen and now it is time to give you wings to fly.

So, off you go tomorrow. It will be your first time being in school and not being with your me or your Dad. You have been to a church pre-school/Kindergarten since you were 2. We have always been able to sneak down the hall and see you. If you got sick in school, one of us was a few doors down. We have seen you trick or treat down the hallways and been there for every Thanksgiving Feast and Muffins with Mom.  So now as you head off to elementary school, I have a few things I want you to always remember.

1. Always stay kind and thoughtful.
One of your strongest attributes is that you are kind. You are such a sweet kid, Will and you have such a heart for other people. You genuinely care about other people and that's why at 6 years old you are already such a good friend. People are drawn to you and our doorbell rings constantly with friends wanting to play with you. Always see your kindness as a strength and not as a weakness. I love that you are the only one to stop and wait for your Grandmother as she is walking slowly behind the group and you are the first one to suggest that we make someone a card or get them flowers for their birthday. Your kindness is one of the best things about you and I pray it always remains at the center of who you are.

2. Just because you are young does not mean you won't be a leader.
You are a natural born leader, Will, and your father and I have seen this in you from a young age.  Leadership is an extension of character, and age isn't a factor. Your dad and I were both even younger than you in school and yet we always gravitated towards leadership roles. We still do in fact. But how you lead is important. In the Bible, Paul told Timothy, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." This is how a Godly young man leads.
3. Never be afraid to ask for help.
I love this about you. You've always been very matter of fact, and if you don't know how to do something, you always just say so, without trying to pretend like you know something. This is a sign of strength. You'll need help. It's why you go to school! Your teacher wants to help. Your friends can help. And your parents want to help. It's great to know what you're good at. It's even better to know where you need help.

4. You never know what kind of day someone is having.
What does this mean? It means two things. First, if someone is mean to you, it's a good practice to always assume the
best in someone. So instead of labeling them a bad person, you just say, "They're probably just having a bad day." The other thing to remember is, everybody likes encouragement! A kind word or a compliment can really lift someone's spirits. Be generous with compliments.

5. Don't be afraid.
Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do  not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” And God will always be with you, Will. He loves you far more than even your dad and I do. It's okay to be nervous at school. You have never been in a large elementary school and you have never been in a class this size. But know that God is always with you and you are never alone. Talk to him throughout the day. He is listening and is always there to guide you. Even when your parents are not.

6. Hang on to your innocence.
Is this possible? I pray it is. Will, you have a pure heart. Did you know that? You are trusting. You look at life in such a pure, unadulterated way. I know you'll get hurt. And for parents, that's hard to think about. We want to protect you at all times. But sometimes, getting hurt is what's best for you. It teaches you skills you'll need later in life, because sometimes, life just hurts. But deep down, you have an innocence that's really beautiful to see. Hang on to it. See the world simply first.

7. Know how incredibly loved you are.
Your dad and I love you more than you realize. It's hard for a kid to even understand that, so just take my word for it. You. Are. Loved. Every part of you. So if (or when) you fail, when you mess up, when you succeed, when you embarrass yourself, when you score a goal, when you get a bad grade, when you let someone down, when you win a prize... No matter what, you are loved. Always and forever.

So, that's it. Go get 'em, son... Make new friends. Stay close to the ones you know. Laugh at new jokes. Help your teacher when she asks. Play silly games in gym. Learn a new instrument. Try out for the team. Even if you don't make it, you'll be glad that you tried. Always be the amazing kid that God created you to be. We are so proud of you but we are also counting the seconds until that school bell rings and we get you home. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Lauren: This is beautiful! I know how you feel -- it's such a mixed bag of emotion to watch them reach these milestones. But he's going to great! He's a great kid with great parents. I can't wait to see how this year goes for him. Have a wonderful first day. Love you all!