This letter wasn’t written to a specific teacher, or about a particular child, but came from a hope that my sons would be liked by their new teachers. Since school is starting, I thought you might enjoy it – and might just want to pass it along.
Dear Mrs. Anderson,
My child Ben has been assigned to your class this year, and I’m glad. People have often told me what a wonderful teacher you are. You have had a lot of great things said about you.
You’ve probably heard about my Ben, too, but I’m afraid the things said about him aren’t always good. The truth is, Ben can be difficult. He’s loud, he makes others uncomfortable, he’s different. But I’m his mother, and I love him.
Of course I’m supposed to love him because I am his mother. But I must tell you that underneath the ball of energy that brings havoc to a room, you’ll find a beautiful child that is worth getting to know. He’s loving, he’s tender, he notices beauty. He’s sensitive when others are hurting, he’s offended when he observes injustice. Believe me, I’ve seen Ben at his worst, but I’ve seen him at his best, too. And he is a wonderful little soul.
So that is why I’m asking you, from the bottom of my heart, please like my child. Because if you like him, you’ll recognize that his impulsiveness is raw eagerness. You’ll see his fidgeting as energy waiting to be channeled. You’ll find ways for him to use his daydreams creatively.
If you like my child, you’ll feel the sting when he is ridiculed by his peers. You’ll shield him from judgmental adults. You’ll make his wrong answers sound right to his classmates. His efforts will be evident to you, and his successes will feel like your own. And when he exasperates you beyond your very last nerve, he’ll feel your love underneath your irritation.
There is an old Arabic proverb that says, “A monkey is but a gazelle in the eyes of his mother.” I know that my son is not perfect, but I’d like for you to try to see past his problems to the gazelle of his soul.
And again, I ask you from my mother’s heart: Please, like my child. Because if you like him, others will. And if you like him, maybe he’ll never learn not to like himself.