Dear Sam….
It’s crazy I’m writing your first-day-of-school letter at almost the end of September. This has been such a chaotic start to this school year. Hurricane Harvey has made everything later and backwards and awkward and different.

Actually, this might be the perfect way for you to start Fourth Grade. Because, Sam, you love the crazy and chaotic. You are fine with backwards or awkward or different. You look for all of these in life.

For you, my dear Sam, life’s crooked lines are the most interesting. Because you’re creative, and funny, and sensitive, you connect most with anything slightly off. And this attitude–this value–is radically different than the culture that rules in your city, your school, and our house. I know that you feel the tension between what you prefer and what’s expected of you.

You’ll always chose a free day over the kind that’s packed with activities. You would much rather chat with someone than plan or build or strategize. You’ll take the long way around and not worry about how many more steps or hours this off-beaten path takes you.  And, my favorite part about you at ten years old….your love for Johnny Cash. His deep, soulful voice speaks to you. Never mind that most Fourth Graders haven’t heard of him–you would happily lay in your bed and listen to him sing about prison for hours.

Fourth Grade seems to be the year when teachers start to expect you to conform to the straight-laced and the tidy. They prefer the kind of students who color in the lines, who love to organize their folders, and who answer questions instead of daydreaming. In Fourth Grade, it can feel like your teachers don’t want to be bothered with a sensitive, creative spirit. They don’t have time for the leftie who asks lots of questions and likes to tell jokes.

But don’t worry about this, sweetheart. They’ll come around when they get to know YOU, Sam. You are the kindest, most caring kid I have met. You always cheer for the underdog, never take the predicted path, and constantly find ways to get to the deeper, more important message in every conversation. This is your gift. Teachers–eventually–will love all of this. They will see that you understand the more truer parts of life.

And if there are days when it feels like others can’t see past your messy handwriting and daydreaming, know that Daddy and I can. Over and over, every day, you impress me with your off-the-wall (and very true) observations. You delight me with the earnest way you to talk to grown-ups. Most importantly, you make me laugh with your wry observations about what’s really going on here.
I’m so glad God made you exactly the way He did, Sam. You add so much chaotic fun and out-of-the-lines color to our family.
Fourth Grade will be a fun year for you. I just know it.

I love you.



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2 Responses
  1. A. Granhold

    I pray that I will always recognize your strengths as your own and not what I may try to impose on you as your teacher. I hope that I always have time to really hear you – even when what you are saying doesn’t pertain to the lesson. May you always be you! In these short few weeks of school I quickly learned that you were a kid that would always make my day! Your sweet smile and kind heart makes my day that much more worthwhile. Here’s to a great year!

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