Monday, November 05, 2012

An Open Letter to Coaches / Teachers / Adult Mentors...

I sometimes see notes from friends who are coaches, teachers, etc. about "Your kids", things parents should be doing or not doing when it comes to their kids. I can appreciate that there are some crazy parents in the world (haha), but I thought it important to send a note to the coaches and teachers of the world, too. Though I use the masculine form (ie, 'his'), know all of this applies to my daughter too.

Dear Coach, Teacher, Adult Mentor of my Son or Daughter:

First let me tell you that I think what you do is amazing. Anyone who works with kids on a daily or semi-regular basis, helping to guide them through this life, teach them things they will need to know to make them a better person, ought to be celebrated. Without you, the job of parents would be impossible -- we simply can't be everything for our kids all the time. So, thank you. It may be cliche, but it truly does take a village to raise a child.

I can appreciate the hard work and dedication you have for my child, and I know you want him to succeed, too.

To you, he is one of many. But to us, his parents, he is one in a million. He is our heart personified. We have sat on the edge of his bed in the middle of the night, rubbing his back, watching him breathe, waiting for the fever to break. We have paced the doctor's office or the ER, wringing hands, waiting anxiously for someone to tell us he would be okay. We have cried with him when he got hurt, we've celebrated with him when he's succeeded in doing that thing that he'd been trying so hard to do. We've felt our own heart break, when we've watched his heart break.

He's not the star in your sky, no. He's your average kid, one of a group of average kids. He's not amazing, or incredible, or exceptionally special in any way. Except, to us, he is. All of that, and more. We think about him all day long. We wonder how he's doing when we're not with him, we worry about him. We hurt when he doesn't live up to expectations. We're doing our very best to help him navigate his way through this world, to be respectable, driven, helpful, compassionate. We're doing our best to help him to do his best.

There isn't a way for you to ever see him the way we see him. We'll try not to be the crazy, irrational parents who you see on a regular basis, telling the coach / teacher / mentor that their child really IS special. But, please know, we can't help it. Because, to us, he just is.