Jan 182012

originally published on august 28, 2011


Dear Chase,

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 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’s 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. 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.




Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  151 Responses to “For Adam”

  1. […] and will be sharing it or some version of this message with him before his second day of school, For Adam. Better late than never.  Last year, we started each day by saying “Kind Heart, Fierce […]

  2. […] hearts, good for you. Good for us. If you need inspiration getting started, this letter, For Adam, from Momastery might be just the place to […]

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  8. […] “Carry On, Warrior – Thoughts on Life Unarmed” is a gamechanger, she’s a gamechanger…She brings me to tears. She makes me think, and rethink. She coined the term “perspectacles”. She makes me laugh, […]

  9. Glennon, I can’t read this letter without choking up! Growing up I was ‘the Adam’, though now I’m in my 20’s and no one would ever guess I was that kind of kid. I love to write, and am working on a book right now that has a message about bravery to it. Your letter to Chase gave me a lot of inspiration, may I use it? I will of course site you. That is such a powerful message so many kids need to learn. Thank you for your example and for sharing this! Everyone’s either known an ‘Adam’, or been one. Have a beautiful day. -Cori Beenfield

  10. […] for adults: ‘For Adam‘ by Glennon Doyle Melton, a letter to her son about the kind of bravery schoolkids need to […]

  11. Teresa and I had a great system for catching rides.

    As this kind of, it may be wise to avoid sun exposure among
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  12. I often come and read this post, I just love it so much. I, like many others, will share this with my boys… my oldest is going into first grade, and I think this year will be the perfect time.

  13. […] Doyle Melton’s post, For Adam, is one of my very favorite posts.  As a former teacher, I wish that all parents would share this […]

  14. I love this. Thank you so much for sharing it with the world. I will read it to my son. I try to teach him these same principles, but I think this will really drive home the concept. Thank you!

  15. Wow … just wow! Thanks for the power of that!

  16. […] has been a big deal lately. As it should be. Every day,you’ll have a choice to be kind. You can be nice to another kid, or tease him. You can share a toy or keep it to yourself. You can include someone in […]

  17. G,
    My husband and I received an email from a parent at our daughter’s school yesterday telling us that his 3rd grader (whom we’ve never met) reported to him that there was a girl at school who was really nice to him. Turns out its our 2nd grade daughter. The father said this really means a lot to him since most kids don’t “seek out” his son and when they do, it’s not to be nice. He asked us to thank our daughter for him. I asked my girl about the boy and she told me the other kids make fun of him because he’s not able to do the monkey bars while all the others can and have been doing them for awhile. I guess she told him that was ok and gave him some tips on how to do them easier. Then she asked him if he wanted to swing with her instead. Here’s the clincher: “Mom, he kind of reminds me of that boy Adam you knew in school. But, he’s really nice, I like playing with him. I’m glad God made my stomach hurt when I heard the other kids being mean to him. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have asked him to play in the first place.” So now it’s my turn to say thank you. Thank you for writing and sharing your letter and giving us permission to use it as our own with our kids. You’re changing the world by giving us all the tools to do our part in our little lives. We can do hard things. Like giving one boy a friend.

  18. […] talk to your kids about bullying. If you don’t know what to say, try reading them this letter from Momastery.com. You might not think you need to worry about your children, as I bet my parents […]

  19. Right here is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that’s been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just wonderful!

  20. Wow!! When I was in 3rd grade there was a person that had really been on the kids’ and teachers’ nerves. It is also very sad when somebody does get teased by a kid at school. Pre-k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th grades, and so-on, schools are really like you said, its a place to learn, bond, share, make friends, and be happy. Not for bullying and being jerks. I hope your child does the right thing when it comes up to being annoyed, bullying, hitting, and more against other kids. Nice and good letter….

  21. […] “Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a 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.” http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/18/for-adam/ […]

  22. I came back to this post today – because of the events of the last week – to share with others this idea: that our most important job as parents is to teach our children to be brave and kind. Thank you!

  23. I keep going back to this post, above all of the others, to read it again and again. It’s speaks so deeply to me and says so simply the things that I want to say to my son. I finally printed it off and will just read it to him and tell him that sometimes the words that I want to say to him are said perfectly by someone else. I, too, have an “Adam” that I think of every single day. I didn’t have the courage to listen to my compassion – I was instead so paralyzed with fear of becoming “Adam” that I didn’t do a thing. And I know that poor child was hurting so deeply. This is one of my biggest regrets, and most important lessons. Thank you so very much for speaking so truthfully.

  24. […] 18. Compassion is a form of strength. Be strong so that you can be compassionate. […]

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this…. I feel the same way, that teaching your children compassion & being aware of the feeling of the Holy Spirit is most important. It makes my heart overflow with joy when I see my daughter tear up over certain things knowing how much she cares for other people & animals at such a young age.

  26. […] message – get your tissues ready!  For copyright reasons please visit the post directly: http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/18/for-adam/ – and then think about how you encourage your own children to listen to their intuition and […]

  27. A fellow blogger just sent me your link to this post. My son is in 3rd grade too and he was just just awarded student of the month for this very reason. I wish it was because of something his father and I have taught him…but we have never had to have the bully discussion only because he already gets it. He feels compassion for others being left out and teased. I love the way you explain it to your son….such a beautiful letter.
    I love this quote-
    “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” -J.k. Rowling


  28. This is Amazing, Inspiring and wonderful! Thank you for sharing and putting this into words for everyone else to pass along this message. Wow.

  29. This is a very encouraging post to read. I pray for my kids to learn to listen to that voice to share compassion and I love to think that other kids are learning the same. Thanks for sharing!

  30. […] friend Kristy forwarded me this incredible posting today from Momastery.  It’s a letter from a mother to her third grade son about being compassionate. So […]

  31. I am new to reading your blog, and this post has hooked me. I tell my husband all the time that more than anything I want our children (4 and 2) to grow up with good hearts and compassionate souls. I have struggled in how to clearly explain compassion to my son, who is in the “im not your friend” stage. Your “heart-ache” definition pertaining to God calling for you to do something, is such a pure, honest explanation. Thank you for making me realize that I need to get to the basics of the human spirti

  32. I enjoyed reading this. I’m 54…and I’ve had alot of Adams pass through my life. And I’m so grateful that I had a mom that taught us love, kindness, and thoughtfulness.
    I didn’t come from a rich home, got my 1st store bought dress when I was 10 ( and still have it tucked in a cedar chest). But …I always welcomed a new student, always sought out the ones in the corners shying away from playing . And I’m glad I did. I was the one that gained more than anything. These Adams let me be their friend I was the lucky one. These Adams were precious gifts that came into my life. And this letter…it doesn’t just have to be to a child…it can still be applied to each one of us as adults. It doesn’t hurt to say hello when passing someone. It doesn’t hurt to share a smile…smiles are free they don’t cost a thing. Stop and hold the door open for someone, let the stranger go ahead. Even the smallest acts of kindness can make you feel as though you were the one to recieve the gift.

  33. Tears.


    My third-grade child is like Adam. Not smelly, dirty, and homework-less, but quiet, quirky, and teased. I can only pray that more parents will pass this on to their children so that compassion, love, and kindness win out.

    Thank you.

  34. […] Another great post from Glennon at the Momastery.  It’s a letter to her son as he starts school, and contains so many things I would love to […]

  35. Wow! What a beautiful way to describe having compassion as a strength that we can all remember to use; even as adults. I teach fourth grade, and I would love to share this letter with my students. We have an “Adam” this year in our room, and I’ve been trying to teach this step to the students at our classroom meetings. I love how you have elegantly articulated such an important life skill with your son. Thank you for sharing your words with us.

  36. Have you ever read the book The Hundred Dresses? It’s a good book to read aloud around 2nd or 3rd grade. I read it to my son and cried as I read it aloud to him. I definitely recommend it. Your post reminds me of this story about a little girl who bragged about having 100 dresses at home though her wardrobe she wore to school did not suggest this. She was teased and the main character struggled to be brave enough to stand up to those teasing the girl. I bet your children would love it and you would, too. Ever thought of writing children’s books?? We need more excellent books by good writers like you!! I love the heart of this letter! It helps me as i have been struggling with how to teach my 9 year old about treating others with grace, particularly his brothers….and sometimes my husband. Somehow I get a pass and my sweetie has grace with Mommy, but Daddy doesn’t always get grace from him. Anyway, I love this. Thank you for sharing!

  37. […] http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/18/for-adam/  Here is the website with an inspirational blog.  In it a Mom talks to her son about bravery.  This spoke right into my heart.  If you have children who are sensitive, pay close attention.  They walk around feeling naked because of all the sadness and pain they see, then feel.  This blog says something I never heard before, and points sensitive children (and their parents) in a good direction. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Uncategorized by faithdet. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  38. This brings tears to my eyes. But it also reminds me of the kindness of my youngest son. Before he went to the eighth grade dance I tried to soften the reality check that I was sure he was going to get from the girls at the dance by telling him to just enjoy the music and don’t worry because not everyone would get the chance to dance. He made me cry like a baby when he came home to tell me I was wrong. Because he remembered what I said and HE ask every girl there to dance. He did not want anyone to go home without at least one dance.
    And I thought he was going to be hurt by unkind girls and he was worried about each of them. He is such a Kind soul !!!

  39. I am 63 years old and I still remember a boy in my 5th grade grade class who looked dirty and probably smelled bad and didn’t do well in school because he was absent so much. I was never mean to him, but I wasn’t particularly kind to him either. I learned later that he lived in a house with a dirt floor, that his mother was a prostitute, and his father was an alcoholic. I will carry guilt for my lack of compassion for this boy with me to the grave. Thank you for your thoughtful post and showing mothers how they can teach compassion to their children.

  40. WOW! How beautifully said! I had my “Adam” in elementary school and another “Adam” in high school. I learned compassion at such an early age because I befriended both Adams, by helping the one with homework in elementary school and by smiling and saying hi to the other Adam on the school bus in high school. All it sometimes takes is a smile and hi as we acknowledge that another person is worthy of acknowledgment, not shunning. Thank you for sharing such an incredible letter to your son. We are ALL beautiful in God’s sight.

  41. This is such a precious letter to your son. I am a 3rd grade teacher, and this really touched me because I see this all the time in my classroom. I also see children being compassionate to the Adam’s out there. If we can teach God’s love and compassion by example, our children/students will see it in our daily walk. I am so glad that someone shared this on facebook. I will be sharing it too on my facebook page and in my classroom/school! God bless you and your precious family!

  42. I Am Blessed by your writing and I pray my family will be too! I feel I belong here!

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