A letter to my kindergartener

Dear Avery,

There are so many things on my heart for you today, yet you’re too little now to understand all of them. Maybe if I write them down I can look back one day and see how far we’ve come, you and me.

I volunteered in your kindergarten classroom today, and it has opened my eyes to so many things. I watched you as you sat on the carpet and recited the alphabet. I watched you read books aloud in your reading group, write in your journal and work on the computer. I was so proud to see how hard you’re working and how much you’ve learned.

I also noticed, though, the challenges that you face in your classroom. Your class is made up of people, and where there are people there are problems because none of us are perfect. We make mistakes, we try and we fall down, we learn and try again.

It reminds me why your Dad and I have made some of the choices that we have and the values that have led us there. You see, we want you to learn how to read and write and to work hard at academics. That does matter to us, but it’s not the only thing that matters to us. We also want you to learn how to navigate the world around you, one that isn’t perfect and one that we can’t always control. We want you to learn to love others well, to excel even in difficult circumstances, and we want you to know that you have what it takes to overcome challenges.

That means, my dear, that I’m not going to fix every problem for you. I know you want me to step in and rescue you when things get a bit uncomfortable, but I love you too much not to teach you the important things. In kindergarten, you learn how to read and write, but there are other skills you will carry with you as you grow that you are practicing right now, too.

You are learning how to deal with disappointment, how to take responsibility for your own learning, how to respond when others are unkind, how to forgive, how to be a friend, how to function in a group when you aren’t the center of attention, how to empathize with others who struggle, how to respond when things aren’t fair, how to put aside your own wants and needs for a while, how to follow directions and there are many, many more.

I want you to know that these things are just as important as learning how to read and write and add numbers. I might argue that these intangibles are even more important because how we handle ourselves and our relationships with the people around us will affect everything we do in life.

And, in case you’re wondering, I know that it is very, very hard. I see how much effort it takes for you to do what is being asked of you. If grown ups had to do kindergarten all over again, we might not make it. It truly is a tough job. Just know, though, that I see you. I understand the struggle, and I may not rescue you from every little problem you face, but I will be here when you get home to help you work through it. I’ll hold your hand the whole way. And remember that many times, hard things are also good things.

This is hard, but it is good.

 

 

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