It’s amazing to me that it’s been three years since I wrote this original Letter to the Graduate to the Loud One. It started out as an assignment from her Kindergarten teacher (“Write a letter to your child’s future self, to be read when he/she graduates from high school) and it turned into one of this blog’s most popular posts.
It feels like I wrote it yesterday. It’s like sometimes the fast forward button of life gets pushed and things start whizzing by, making that funny Chipmunks noise. (That sound brings me right back to my childhood bedroom, taping songs off the radio, and then playing them on my pink boom box. I would fast forward to the chorus by holding down the FF button and it would make that noise. I know you did it, too… don’t try to pretend you’re THAT much younger than me.)
Anyway, in a couple of days, I’ll have another Kindergarten graduate.
Although his teacher didn’t give us any assignments, I thought it only fair to keep up the tradition. Here goes…
If you are, in fact, really graduating from high school, let me first say CONGRATULATIONS! Sitting where I am now, I can’t say that I’m surprised. Even at your current age of 6½, you are extremely focused and driven. I imagine you’ve worked hard and have achieved much during your high school years because of your determination. You’re also just a TINY BIT competitive. OK, a big bit. OK, you’re really, really competitive.
How do I know? Well, your favorite sentence is “I win.” You turn every trip upstairs into a race. You ALWAYS keep score, no matter what the game or who the players. And you’re constantly asking me who is the best helper in the family… or who is the easiest to put to bed… or who is the funniest… or who I love the most. And when I say, “I don’t know” or “I can’t answer that,” you always say, “I know… it’s me, right?”
You even feel a certain sense of pride in being called The Nibbit, which let’s not forget originates from the expression Nothing But Trouble (NBT). You don’t care. You think it’s cool that you got a nickname that was original and unique, just like you.
This has been a big year for you, Nib. The reading, the writing, the math… you’re a natural student so that part hasn’t been too hard for you. You know which accomplishments make me feel even more proud?
- The way you’re learning to look a grown-up in the eye when they’re speaking to you and to answer their question(s) politely.
- The way you’re learning that it doesn’t matter if “all the other kids are doing it;” if it’s wrong or inappropriate, you don’t do it. Period.
- The way you’re learning that just because the professionals use their elbows and slide tackle on the soccer field does NOT mean it’s OK for you to use those tactics. (This is a work in progress.)
- The way you’ve learned how to read the score and pitch count yourself during Yankee games so you can FINALLY stop asking Daddy “What’s the score?” a million times.
- The way you can identify good sportsmanship on the field and USUALLY recognize that it’s more important than winning.
Here’s the thing Bud, you’re competitive spirit and strategic mind are going to serve you well in your lifetime. That combination will open up doors and create opportunities for you that will be extremely valuable.
BUT – now listen up, this is important – it will be your big heart that will bring you happiness.
You get that, right?
It’s your KINDNESS that will be the foundation for all the important relationships in your life and THAT is where the good stuff happens.
Right now I see it with your pursuit of “fairness” for your friends, your inclusion of your little brother when your friends are over, your concern for your sister (except during Wrestle Baby when all bets are off) and your affection for your family (Aunt Lori loves your hugs!). Hold on tight to those things.
I also know that kindness and compassion is not always the easiest path to take… sometimes it’s tempting to join in the laughs at someone’s expense or justify bad behavior. Don’t. It’s simple. Not EASY, but simple. And I know you can do the right thing.
I have NO DOUBT that adventure will find you, baby boy. Work hard, dream big, be kind and always, always be YOU.
Love you to Outer Space and California and back,