I wear many hats and one of those hats is being a teacher. Last year I taught Pre-Kindergarten and my son was in my class. So even though he has been to school before, he hasn’t been away from his mama for this long before. I guess maybe I should rephrase that; I haven’t been away from him for this long. There is both good and hard in teaching your son and letting him go for the first time. I know all you mama’s can relate.
Lately I’ve been thinking about truths I want both of my boys to know, especially when it comes to the start of the school year. We are very happy with the neighborhood elementary school we attend but it still means my boys have a large portion of their day where they are navigating their world without me there to filter it for them.
I’ve written a letter to my boys. I think the letter is more for me then for them. But the process of writing the letter has helped me focus on what is important. Last night worry crept into my heart as I thought about the conversations they will have with kids whose families have different values than us or the pressure of the comparison game that ranges from grades to the latest and greatest toys.
Here’s a copy of my letter. Maybe I’ll read to them, maybe I won’t. Like I said I think its more for me. A copy will take residence in my journal to remind me when pressure and craziness cloud my focus on what is true and important.
For some reason sending both of you to elementary school feels so much bigger and scarier to me than just sending one of you. I feel like the innocence of the first years of school will go away this year and it scares and saddens my mama’s heart. I know there will be kids in your class who have watched movies and TV shows that are filling their minds with filth that will spill out onto you. I’ve heard you already talk about kids playing video games that no one, not even adults, should play. In the past it felt easy to push it aside and keep you in our small, safe little world. But I can’t always do that and to be honest I don’t want to. I don’t want to because I know you have something important to share with our broken and hurting world. Your Nana gave me some of the best parenting advice when she told me that teaching your kids how to make choices was the most important job of a parent. From the first tantrum you threw, this truth has never been far from my mind and I want you to know that I trust you. I trust that you are good, kind, and loving. I trust that when push comes to shove, you know what is right. I trust you because I see it in you everyday from the way you treat your family, your friends, and the strangers we meet.
As this school year begins remember, it’s not the end product that matters but the journey you take. Grow in your knowledge of reading for it is a gift that will take you on many amazing adventures. I know because I have traveled the world and time through the pages of books. Learn your addition, subtraction, and times facts but remember that if and when you struggle, you are not alone and you are not a failure. No matter what people tell you or what you tell yourself. Remember you are not alone. I will be with you on the journey of knowledge. Tell me when I step in and try to control the journey too much, ask when you need help and if I get caught up in the product remind me that it’s a journey and the end product is not the goal. Let’s enjoying the path we take to get there.
I know life gets busy with sports, work, laundry, cleaning bathrooms, cooking and well the list just goes on and on. In the midst of it, let’s play. Let’s play while we are getting everything done that needs to get done but more importantly lets just stop and play. Let’s laugh together, race each other across the field, ride bikes as fast as we can, build amazing Lego creations together, play games, and read books together. We are at our best when we are playing together.
And, no matter what, I will always love you. Remember that. Engrave it on your mind and let it fill your heart. There is nothing you could ever do or say that would change that. I love that we talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s keep doing it and never stop.