By Rachel Lore, Pediatric Alliance, Practice Administrator — Regional Office Division
Tomorrow is a big day. Third Grade – wow.
For the last several years, Glennon Doyle Melton has invited parents to read this letter to their own kids before their first day of school. It begins:
Chase – When I was in third 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. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. 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.
Kindness. Compassion. Bravery. These are the themes of this beautiful letter:
Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision 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.
When I look back at my elementary school years, there were times when I was the ugly duckling and times when I was the prom queen. There were times when I was cruel and times when I was kind. Children walk through these paths of life and socialization, and look to their leaders — parents, caretakers, teachers, coaches, or simply their elders — for direction. Whether compassion can be taught or not is debatable, but I can say based on my walk, the compassion I showed my fellow classmates was a direct reflection of those I admired.
In this day and age, we have so many different social backgrounds, races, religions, gender types, and behavioral differences — all joined together in one community. It is now more important than ever, as a role model, to be a leader of compassion, and to communicate that compassion! It’s a challenge for children to be brave in this complex society, and we need to let them know we are here to support them in their courageousness.
Read all of Glennon Doyle Melton’s letter here and share it with your children.
(Rachel Lore is office manager for Pediatric Alliance — Regional Office Division, which includes offices in Wexford, Jefferson Hills (September 2015), and Bloomfield (Spring 2016).