My dearest boys,
So excited! School is starting tomorrow! This is your big day! I know you’re not excited for classes to start so much as you are to see your friends. What fun it will be to tell them all about your summer, your adventures, and your triumphs! So much and so little has changed.
I look at you three and get a knot in my throat: look at how much you’ve grown and changed over this summer break! Time is flying by. And, most importantly, after all of this forced family time you are finally FINALLY treating each other like friends and not just brothers. Talking and giggling together, plotting the next (mis)adventure. Real three muskateers, in a good way.
Boys, you are so very lucky. You have at least two instant friends on the playground. No matter where in the world we move, you will have two people who will be by your side, no matter what. Not everyone is that lucky. Have compassion for those who don’t have your good fortune, for those who are not as lucky to have a circle of supportive friends. I know it can be so hard to leave the security and casual acceptance of your circle of friends and reach out to an unknown. You know what, though? That new child, they, too, have something to offer. They, too, want a circle of acceptance. Be brave and share yours. One can never have too many friends.
Boys, a suggestion, if I may? Reach out to the new kid. We have been there, right? We know what it feels like to be the ones on the playground who know no one else. The one who has not yet gathered the courage to walk onto the playground, or join the group playing soccer. Sitting alone, watching, in that one lonely seat. I know it can be hard, too, to be the one to approach the new faces on the playground. Are they going to be kind in return? Are they going to smile and reciprocate? Are they going to accept? You can’t know without trying, but that first step can take so much courage.
Be the example kid in class. Be the one that your classmates go home and tell their mom and dad about at the dinner table because they admire you so. Be the kid that other kids want to be. And be that kid not because you are the smartest or the coolest. Not because you are the fastest or the funniest. Be that kid because you are the kindest. And because you reach out and you include.
There will be lots of contests at school, and your dad and I 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 soccer at your class break. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or the pill in the back row. You don’t have to have the coolest gadgets or the best handwriting. We just want you to be you, to be proud of who you are, and to help others be all that they can be as well.
We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you all; being ‘best’ doesn’t add to that. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. You are loved. Period.
Three words to remember, my boys. 1. Kindness. 2. Compassion. 3. Bravery.
Embrace these qualities, my boys, and be the force that embraces rather than rejects. Use those big hearts of yours, and include.
Learn, sure. Learn and grow and flourish. And reach out. Lessons come from more than just books and the classroom. Lessons can be learned anywhere, and you never know from whom you will gain knowledge. Your teachers? Absolutely a invaluable resource. Your friends? Yes, them too. Those you haven’t yet had the privilege of meeting? You just never know, so reach out and include.
This school year that is about to open? So many adventures await you. Embrace them. I can’t wait to hear about each and every one of them. May you wake up every day, enthused for another day of learning, of being amazing boys, and of making the most of the opportunities you are lucky enough to be given.
I love you all, with all of my heart, and more than you will every know.