Dear Future Teachers, Instructors, and Coaches of my Sons,
I’d like to take a minute now to thank you for the hours, energy, and love that you will undoubtedly be giving to my children in the future. I know that it is not always an easy job that you have, but it is one that you accepted, however long ago, because you have the best interest of children, and now my children, at heart. Many of you have simply volunteered…and don’t even get paid…and all of you spend a large portion of your personal time thinking about, worrying about, or being excited about things that have to do with the classes you teach, the lessons you give, or the practices that you run.
I know, no matter how much you love what you do, the down side is that your job will sometimes require that you make difficult decisions. I know that those decisions will sometimes even cause you sleepless nights, a heavy heart, and worry, and pain.
I’d like to tell you now…that it is OK. It is OK to not pick my son.
It is OK to not call on him when his hand in raised as high as possible in class, because you have 20 students and they all want to make you happy by knowing the right answer or sharing their thoughts.
I know that even that one silly decision….who to call on?….can be excruciating…each and every time. I know that you make a mental note…and try to call on them all the same amount each week, but it is still so hard to watch their hands fall disappointedly back into their laps.
It is OK, if my son ends up not being able to carry a tune, that he does not receive a solo in the Spring Concert…no matter how much he wants one. You know what? Even if he can sing, but isn’t one of the best, it is still ok. I know that you’ll find other ways to encourage him and make him feel proud. I know that you’ll let him know how important his role in the chorus is.
It is OK, if my son has trouble finding his inner actor, to not pick him for a leading role. He may be crushed for a minute, but I know that you need to do what is right for the other children and the school play. He’ll understand, because he knows that everyone has strengths. We will encourage him to find another way to shine and tell him how important it is to play that small supporting role. The play couldn’t go on if all characters weren’t cast…no matter how big or small. After all.
I image that my son will enjoy working on science fair projects each spring. But, you know what, when it comes time to pick just 5 projects to send to regionals, it is OK to pick others…and not his. His hard work and the pride that he feels when he presents his experiment should be enough for him. And, it will motivate him all that much more the following year. And, trust me, I know how hard it will be for you to pick just 5. I know that you wish someone else could make those decisions.
I want you to know now that it is OK if his essay is not submitted to the writing contest. Even though I’m sure he’ll try so hard to be chosen and want so desperately to impress you, sometimes you have to just pick one…and inevitably the other children will feel sad. I know, without a second of doubt, however, that you’ll pull him aside and tell him how much you enjoyed his story. You’ll make him want to write again….because writing is fun…even if your story isn’t picked.
It will always be OK if, when some children’s art work gets selected for the art show, his is not. We will shower him with praise, encourage him to create more, and teach him to congratulate his friends for their creativity and their submissions. His art will always have a special place in our home.
It is also OK, no matter how much he tries, to sometimes make the decision to leave him on the bench. I know that you will take time during the season to help him improve, make him feel valuable, and motivate him to dig deeper. And, because you’ve done such a great job, I know that if the team wins, he will know he has won and played a monumental role in the victory. Even if his role wasn’t as obvious in the final minutes of a game.
I want to thank you again, because I know that it sometimes feels impossible. I know that you became a teacher, an instructor, or a coach for so many wonderful reasons. I know that you had giant aspirations to always be “fair.” I’m also guessing that you never imagined how many times each year, session, or season you would feel burdened by decisions that have no “fair” answer.
I hope that you know you have our support and gratitude and the love and respect of my child. Even if you didn’t pick him. Because…even if you didn’t pick him….you chose him. You chose to teach him, encourage him, support him, love him, challenge him, push him, excite him, and inspire him. Your success, loyalty, or impact can not be judged by one, or even several of those difficult decisions. It is based on the many moments, outside of those decisions, that you made sure to make him know that you are there for him.
I think it is important to tell you….not that you don’t already know….that I don’t expect all parents will feel the same way. And…that I am by no means speaking for them. I am simply telling you how I feel.
Thank you in advance for all that you will surely do….and for those difficult decisions you are forced to make.