Guys, sometimes other people just say it so well that there’s nothing I can do except say, “Yep, this is exactly how I feel too.”  The letter below is so on point.  Decker, you’re starting a new school on Tuesday and Gibson, you start daycare tomorrow morning.  I love you guys more than I can possibly say.  Love, Dad

Originally published August 28, 2011

Hey Baby. Tomorrow is a big day. Third Grade – wow. 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. I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you. So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one. Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a little part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Chase! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you. Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away. Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things. Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’ team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together. When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too. Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we 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 kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care. We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done. We send you to school to practice being brave and kind. 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. I love you so much that my heart might explode. Enjoy and cherish your gifts. And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.

Love, Mama  

***Each year people ask my permission to substitute their child’s name for Chase’s and read this letter together the night before school begins. YES. Others ask if they might change the word God to their family’s name for love and read it that way. OF COURSE. This letter belongs to all of us. I’d be honored if you took it and made it work for your family. Heck, tell ‘em you wrote it. I’m always picking up pre-made grocery buffet food, throwing it into a casserole dish, placing it triumphantly on the table and then stepping back and smiling as humbly as possible in the wake of such triumph. Same/Same. Love, G -

See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/21/the-one-letter-to-read/#sthash.ZiomTxg6.dpuf

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Happening to the World

by Byron on August 17, 2014

Boys,

People lean two major ways.  One way is people who let the world happen to them.  The other way is people who happen to the world.

Each method/characteristic has its own advantages and disadvantages.  People who let the world happen to them tend to be easier going.  They live and let live, seldom imposing their own will onto a situation.  They are calm.  If they aren’t careful, they can get walked on or taken advantage of by the world and by others.

People who happen to the world impose their will on situations and people.  They are more likely to get what they want, but also, ironically, somewhat more likely to be unhappy with what they get.  They take charge, lead others, and shape the world around them in a way that most others do not.  However, if they aren’t careful, they will find they’re never happy because, ultimately, God/fate/luck/destiny has a lot to do with outcomes.

Neither way is wrong nor right.  The vast majority of people, while leaning to one side, have elements of both sides in them.  You Mom leans to the let the world happen side, while I lean the other way.  However, we both have the ability to take on the opposite characteristics.

Learning to which side you lean can be helpful.  You will know yourself a little bit more and you will recognize your own behaviors.  When it’s time to take on the role you do not frequent, you’ll be better at that too.

**********************

It’s the summer of 2014.  Decker, you were in camp this summer at Bryn Mawr Little School, where you’ll start school in two weeks.  Gibson, you were home with Mommy, who had some help from Emily and Mackenzie.  We went to the Greentree Pool, hung out, and learned how to sleep.  It’s been a good summer.  We’re a family!  The four of us.  I’m so happy you guys have each other.

I love you both tons!

Dad

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What is Winning?

July 19, 2014

Guys, I won an award a week ago.  I was named to be part of the Fastcase 50.  You can see more about it here: http://www.fastcase.com/fastcase50-winners-2014/.  It’s given […]

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You’re Growing

July 19, 2014

Gibson, You are doing awesome!  You eat like a champ!  You smile at me and your Mommy.  I could swear you even try to talk. At this […]

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Learning from Others

July 6, 2014

Hey Guys, One of the things I have learned is that I didn’t have to learn everything for myself.  I can learn from the successes and failures […]

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Leaving the Hospital

June 29, 2014

Gibson, We’re leaving the hospital today.  Again.  We were here longer this time than we were when you were born. On your 22nd day of life, you […]

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You’re Both So Small

June 19, 2014

Decker and Gibson, I know why older people always want to tell new parents how fast time flies … because it does.  When someone tells you how […]

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Welcome Gibson!

June 12, 2014

Dear Gibson, Welcome to the world!  You’ve been here for eight days.  So far you seems pretty relaxed.  You love Mom’s milk.  Even the day you were […]

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A Healthy Amount of Self Interest is Good

May 8, 2014

Dear Decker, I put up this post on Injury Lawyer Database today and I caught myself thinking, “This sounds really cold.”  After all, it says, “The system […]

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So Grateful I Get to be Close to You

April 19, 2014

Decker, I went to visit a client on federal prison yesterday.  There was a little boy in the waiting area.  He was being a little mischievous.  He […]

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