Aug 232012

School is beginning.  Many of you have written to ask me what our family “Back to School” traditions are. If I haven’t responded, it’s because I stared at those questions and thought: CRAP. I’m supposed to have Back to School traditions???

If any, I suppose our traditions are getting crazy excited (Craig and I, not the kids), cursing through Target on the hunt for specific brands of scissors, and MAKING LUNCHES again. Why is making lunches SO hard?

Also, this: The Talk. We have The Talk with each child at the start of every school year. Our approach changes, but the story doesn’t. The story is always about Adam. Chase knows Adam’s story by heart now, and that is the point.

Please don’t forget to have The Talk. Below is how I do it, but like Rumi said, there are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

One way is to copy and paste this letter, change Chase to your kid’s name, and read it together. That’s what my girlfriends do. Totes fine with us.

Love You So. Happy School. And to those Monkee Mamas who left their littles at college this week. Well done. Well done, mamas. You can love them just as ferociously from a distance, right? With more time for manicures and books.

Carry On, Warriors.

Love, G

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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  379 Responses to “The Talk”

  1. […] The Talk – » Momastery – This is so awesome. I have a similar talk with my children but I never share the rest of the story. I never teased Lee and I did talk to him but never at school … […]

  2. Dear MOMastery,
    Please. Do not teach your “normal” kid to feel morally superior for his “compassion” for my child who is not “normal.” She does not need your kid’s “heartache.” Trust me, my daughter, with her “developmental disabilities” sees right through your kid’s contrived “kindnesses.”
    She doesn’t want any part of your heartache for her.
    She is gloriously happy. She doesn’t care how other kids smell. She doesn’t care how other kids dress. Unless they look really awesome. In which case, she tells her/him so.
    Please either rejoice in the fact that my “different” daughter looks exactly like Jesus or simply be silent.
    No contrivance is necessary. Your kid is free to simply play and learn in the world and either choose a valuable friend in the beautiful “Adams” or not. Either way, no hard feelings.
    Feel free to replace the name “Adam” with the name “Hope.” Except her head won’t hang low, even if/when others mistreat her or respond to her in hierarchical postures. She knows that she looks like Jesus.
    Parents, please teach your child to see Jesus in their midst. In Every. Single. Other.
    Parents, go ahead and sniff them. Each child. They smell like sheep. Each glorious child.

    • As a parent of a disabled daughter (blind & wheelchair bound, among other things) I am grateful when other children have eyes to see her as an equal, as I assume you are too. This letter is not about inciting pity for the conditions of other children–it’s about developing their eyes to look beneath the surface and stand in the gap when others are either silent or actively oppressive. This post speaks of kids that are “left out, or hurt, or teased,” which are categories that inevitably include ALL children during the course of a school year. In included you and me, and surely it includes our daughters too.

      This letter calls for compassion, not pity. The word compassion literally means for one’s “innards” to hurt on behalf of another. To put yourself in another’s shoes, to feel what they’re feeling. As a parent of a daughter with disabilities, I certainly understand your reaction if this was stereotyping or calling for pity. But I’m hearing empathy and justice conveyed here, not pity. And I want more of this in our children, not less.

  3. […] with aplomb, and polite disagreement. Glennon Doyle Melton famously starts each school year with a pep talk along these lines. Everyone with a kid in school should read it, I […]

  4. […] may know that one of my favourite posts from Glennon Doyle Melton at Momastery is about the talk she has with her kids when they start the school […]

  5. […] Glennon Doyle Melton exhorts her children at the start of every school year, let’s consciously put kindness ahead of academic performance when it comes to what we look […]

  6. […] Glennon Doyle Melton exhorts her children at the start of every school year, let’s consciously put kindness ahead of academic performance when it comes to what we look […]

  7. […] couldn’t do so as eloquently as she does in the interview or in the post on her site (Go read her blog post “The Talk” on Momastery because it should be required reading for all […]

  8. I just want to say, YOU GUYS! (I wish I had more guys, so I’m sharing this here :)

    My kids are older, 11, 14, 17 and so instead of reading this I told them about the letter, and I told them about the year when I was an “Adam” and the one boy who stood up for me and I never ever ever forgot him. And in typical teenager fashion, they were pretending to listen and then split the moment they thought they could get away with it.

    And then, this morning. My 14 yo son – a freshman this year. Yesterday, he was telling his dad about an exchange student from Brazil at his school who doesn’t speak much English and how he looks lonely. My husband suggested he try to reach out to the boy and make him feel welcome – and my son sort of shrugged it off as “maybe” This morning I sat down at the computer and Google translator was open to Portuguese, “Hello – my name is Robert. Would you like to sit with me at lunch today?”

    I can’t wait to find out how it all went today, but I am absolutely bursting with pride and just want to tell him how a little compassion goes such a long way in this world and I am so amazed to see the amazing young man he is turning into!!

  9. This is incredible. I was happy to share my personalized version on my blog, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that others are encouraging and teaching their children to be brave doers and not complacent watchers. Love love love. Thank you!

  10. […] here is my letter, with help from Glennon. Please pop over to her site, and write your own letter to your kids before they head off to school, or co-op, or swimming […]

  11. Thank you for sharing this. It sounds a little like our prayers we’ve been doing each morning before school. But I love this story and will share it with my kids. Thank you!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful letter. I just shared it with my soon to be first grader (just changed the boy to a boy I remember from school). My daughter was born with the gift of compassion and I just want her to brave enough to listen to it and this was perfectly written to help her begin to understand why she has “bad feelings” when someone is suffering and what to do about it. Just wish I hadn’t bawled my way through it…

  13. […] The Talk – I just adore this post and the moral teaching it shares with our […]

  14. […] Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt, via Mamastery You guys. I have a REFRIGERATOR. This thing MAGICALLY MAKES FOOD COLD. I’m pretty sure in the […]

  15. […] of self first.    I’ve included an excerpt below; for the whole letter, head over to the Momastry blog and if you’re a mum, bring a few tissues with you.    Hey, baby. Tomorrow is a big […]

  16. […] started making our Custom Kid’s Blessing Bands after reading this beautiful letter from Glennon Melton of Momastery to her son.  The letter tells her son that all she really hopes […]

  17. Amazing! Thank you for sharing this wonderful tradition. You have inspired me!

  18. Holy shit. That just ripped my heart out.

  19. This is so awesome. I have a similar talk with my children but I never share the rest of the story. I never teased Lee and I did talk to him but never at school, always in our neighborhood where there was nobody who would see us. When we were in 9th grade, Lee finally had enough. He sat in the tracks just a quarter mile from our neighborhood and was killed by a train.

  20. […] στο ένα πολύ ωραίo γράμμα μιας οικογένειας προς το […]

  21. […] I read this beautiful letter from a mom to a child starting school and I had further recognition of my reluctance to admit my […]

  22. […] love love love love THIS back-to-school talk where it is suggested that parents read to their children each year. It […]

  23. […] imaginable. With this in mind, I decided to take Glennon Melton’s advice and personalize her Adam letter for Elliot. If you’ve not read it and shared this lesson with your school-aged children, please […]

  24. […] may know that one of my favourite posts from Glennon Doyle Melton at Momastery is about the talk she has with her kids when they start the school […]

  25. When I was little, I was Adam. Your description of him completely describes me at the time. When I was in 5th grade I switched schools. The first week of recess, I spent my whole time kicking rocks off the playground barrier wall. On week two a girl in my class came up to me and said “You can’t spend the whole year kicking rocks. Come over with us.” I do remember her, her name was Molly.

    And I would add that the judgment wasn’t limited to the kids. I would go to one of my classmate’s house after school, since my mom wasn’t able to pick me up until after 5:30. I didn’t talk to the classmate much, but it was a place to do homework after school. One day her mom came up to me and said I needed to take a shower because I smelled too much. I objected, but she wouldn’t listen. She made me shower in the basement stall shower, not the one in their bathroom. While I was in there she took my clothes, saying she was going to wash them, and gave me different clothes to wear. I remember the pants had these ugly bright stripes, my classmate’s rejected pants. They were also about 2 inches too small for my legs. By the time my mom picked me up, I was back in my newly washed clothes, and absolutely mortified and too embarrassed to tell my mom what happened. I guess in her eyes, she was doing me a favor. But I felt absolutely degraded. I didn’t know that people showered every day, or that my clothes were dirty.

    That is when I learned that if I was going to “fit in” with others, I had to figure it out myself. I took cues from my peers, listened carefully to adults. By 5th grade I was doing my own laundry, making my own dinner and lunches, waking both me and my mom up in the mornings. As an adult now, I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I also take responsibility don’t blame anyone else for my shortcomings, and that is something I respect about myself.

    So if your child is an Adam, is to be up front with them, don’t treat them like a child when life is treating them like an adult. Tell them that their life will be harder than many of their peers. Tell them it is OK to get angry and yell at God, as long as they get it out, realizing that anger is pointless and continue their life. But really, just listen. Listen to everything they tell you, even if it doesn’t make any sense. The fact is that a child is dealing with issues that adults can’t even answer, so try and figure it out with them. Make sure they know they aren’t alone.

  26. […] because she is different. I wrote about it in this post awhile back. If you have not yet read The Talk by Momastery, please take a moment. It’s not too late to have The Talk […]

  27. I want to join the rest of those who are absolutely inspired and humbled by your words. You put into words what my heart cries out and in such a beautiful manner. I wonder if Adam will ever find out what an effect and what a gift he was. Not only did he inspire you, but in turn, that inspiration has helped shape you and your children. And, as if God had not already worked enough miracles through him, your story and your wonderful sentiments have inspired everyone who reads this. Adam was a ripple who, through you, has caused a tidal wave. I hope Adam gets the chance to find out all the good his suffering caused so that he may find some peace (if he hasn’t already).

    Thank you for being you. It’s people like you who remind us that there is still reason to have faith in human nature and hope for our future. Your story is just what I needed to remind me what is important and thanks to you, I now have the words to be able to pass this message on to my children through more than just my husband’s and my example.

  28. What a wonderful sentiment to share with children! To write this letter to my own children, it really made me think. I did talk to my “Adam”; her name was Heather. In Catholic school, my 8th-grade teacher pulled me out into the hall one day and asked if I would try to befriend Heather, that it seemed she was having trouble relating to the other kids and always seemed to be alone. I agreed. So every day I invited Heather to eat with my friends at the lunch table, I included her in the games during recess. I picked her to partner with during science lab and I suggested we go for pizza after school. She always declined. I began to separate from my friends to give her a chance, thinking maybe she was just shy. She rebuffed my attempts at friendship. After a month or so, the teacher asked me how it was going and I said I would continue to try, but that she just didn’t seem interested. The teacher remarked that things were tough for her at home and I felt so sorry for that. I kept trying to include her and when we got to high school, she drew even further away from everyone. I later heard she attempted suicide. I think of her sometimes and wonder where she ended up; but at least I have the comfort of knowing that I tried. I didn’t care what my social status would be if Heather was at my table; I didn’t care if her ratty look attracted stares at the pizza place. I showed compassion to her. It taught me several valuable lessons…but what I got most from it at the age of 13, was that feeling of knowing it had nothing to do with me. I think many times kids feel that it’s them if a kid doesn’t want to be friends; I knew it wasn’t me, that she was troubled. And that brought my compassion for her circumstances. I teach my children that you don’t know everyone’s story. Sure, maybe that girl has the coolest backpack and the fanciest clothes, but does her mom work so hard she never sees her? Are her parents divorcing and buying her off? Of course I don’t say it like that to my kids, but I teach them to be happy with what they have and not envy what others have. This is partly what my letter to them tonight will say. Thanks for the ideas!

  29. thank you so much for way you explained such deep emotions, and empathy. if my children are good, caring human beings, i don’t much care about how well they are doing in math. this letter expresses that message beautifully :)

  30. […] love love love love THIS back-to-school talk where it is suggested that parents read to their children each year. It […]

  31. […] letter to the author’s son on the first day of school should be required reading. (From […]

  32. […] the show today, I’m reading my favorite bits and pieces of this letter, written by Glennon Doyle Melton.  The way she explains compassion to her son heading into 3rd […]

  33. An excellent talk!

  34. […] “The Talk” by Glennon Melton–Instilling Compassion in Our Children This entry was posted in Parenting, Praying for My Children on August 23, 2013 by blogging. […]

  35. Brought tears to my eyes. This is a beautiful letter. I agree with Jen Valdez. I would “reword” “I don’t care” as well. Coming from a place where I felt like “Adam” growing up at times, I’m sensitive to some words and phrases. I know there are many kids hurting and sometimes parents don’t know. “It’s not important if..” sounds more endearing. I appreciate reading this. I will forward this to my friends and family. Thank you so much for sharing.

  36. […] a prayer, hugs and kisses, we just didn’t allow enough time!  Have you read “The Talk”?  If not, I highly recommend.  I modified it a bit, but basically my boys got “The […]

  37. What a beautiful gift for your child. I sure wish I would have thought of this. I wonder how to adapt this for a son starting his second year of college, or my daughter, flying off to France on the same day to start her masters program there. I have copied your story and am looking at ways to adapt for each of them.

  38. Thank you for allowing us to use this. I have copied, pasted, changed the names to my girls names and they will get it today. Love this so much.

    • I think this is a great message, and I think each one of us mothers who read it should be inspired—inspired to do this for our children. However, I do not feel it would be right to “copy, paste, and change the names.” Tonya, you should use this as inspiration to write your own letter to your own children.

      Please don’t copy, paste it, and change the names.

  39. I think the concept of starting each year with a reminder for your child(ren) of what is truly important in life is a wonderful idea. I love how this particular message coveys how unconditional and unchangeable this parent’s love is for their child, no matter their challenges or successes. There is only one aspect of this letter that I would change. In an age where bullying often escalates to violence quickly even among the very young I, as a parent, would consider refraining from encouraging my child to be “brave” and intervene when teasing is actively taking place. I feel that it isn’t fair (or safe) to place the burden of being the peace-maker on his shoulders. What I would impart to him is that the brave thing to do in that situation is tell an adult, and let them deal with the individual doing the teasing. Outside of that, this is a wonderful letter, and I intend to “tweak” it for my family. Thank you for the post.

  40. Amazing!!! We should all tell this story to our little ones who start school …………… what a better place it would be for ALL!!! Thanks for sharing it!!

  41. I love the story, but I too was thinking the same thing. I don’t tell my child EVER that I don’t care. If I were to tell her I don’t care about all those things, it would be a lie. I do care if she makes good grades. The rest (clothing, winning, being cool) I am right there with you! That being said we should still tell them that we care about everything they do. Everything they do in school is important and they need to communicate this with us or we won’t know what is wrong.

  42. Great letter! I will start this tradition with my boys!

  43. What perfect timing! My first baby is starting kindergarten this fall. I’m going to start reading this to her :) And since I’m an elementary school Librarian, I think I’d like to read it to all of my students the very first week of school. This is such a gift.
    Thank you!!!

  44. This is so beautiful!I Wish there were more people like you in the world!!

  45. Bless you and thank you <3 x x x

  46. […] with aplomb, and polite disagreement. Glennon Doyle Melton famously starts each school year with a pep talk along these lines. Everyone with a kid in school should read it, I […]

  47. This is absolutely beautiful in every way. This is EXACTLY what I want for my babies as they grow up, but struggled to find the words to express those sentiments on their level. My daughter had her dance recital over the weekend, and I have never been so proud of her in my life–not because of her dancing, but because she stopped dancing halfway through to help the girl next to her stand back up after she fell. Without knowing how to explain it, I felt like I had done something right along the way to be the mom of the daughter looking out for her fallen friend. Now I know how to explain it. Thank you.

  48. Why isn’t this published as a children’s book? Would love to give or receive as a gift!

  49. Wow! As a teacher …. I really wish more parents had this tradition!!! Really powerful stuff. Great job. I am sure your kids are brave, kind, and wonderful people! Keep it up!!

  50. I teach kindergarten and this letter speaks volumes to what I see so often. Yes, even with five year olds! I do not have children of my own, but I am an aunt. I will include this in care packages and back to school notes for my niece, nephew, and cousins. Thank you for sharing this gem!

  51. Cursing through Target, lol. I knew what you meant, and such a wonderful message (the letter, not the cursing).

  52. Oh my! This is so heart whelming! Thank you for sharing and I definitely will be sharing this with my 3 kids.

  53. This is wonderful, I wish I had thought of it when my children were young. My daughter graduated last week, and there were two young ladies in her class with special needs. I believe that they had a lot of compassionate seniors in the class because as those two young ladies walked for their diplomas each and every senior along with the entire gymnasium full of family and friends gave them a.standing ovation for their success. It was an amazing sight, ans made me proud to call myself a parent of one of those seniors!

  54. Thank you for sharing this wonderful message with us. =)

  55. I LOVE THIS. you are being used mightily! may i repost parts of this on my Chinese blog? I have 11,300 fans or so… of highly interested Chinese mothers looking for a better way. It’s on weibo at @Laini的袋鼠码妈. Super inspiring – take your time answering, while i slowly savor all the rest of your posts…

  56. […] I read this beautiful letter from a mom to a child starting school and I had further recognition of my reluctance to admit my […]

  57. […] Gefunden bei momastery: […]

  58. This is the most beautiful letter to a child I think I’ve read.
    And such an important message I wish all children got when they started the school year! I am definitely going to have “the talk” with my daughter when she starts kindergarten this year.

  59. Wow. Great and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing! We could all use this advise. Even most adults. This is a great way to talk to the kids about this subject.

  60. What a lovely note…it inspires me to wrote a beautiful note for my son on his first day at school, thanks for sharing☺

  61. I have printed this off and will be reading it to my children tonight before bed! I have been struggling of late to show my children how heavily my heart is burdened by their entitlement and the lack of compassion that they show to others at times.

    I LOVE the thoughts about how those feelings that we have when someone is being mistreated are actually God waking us up to achieve His love and way in others! Thank you, thank you. This has given me great joy and a renewed outlook today :)

  62. When I was a kid I always stuck up for the kids that where picked on an made fun of. I got in many fights growing up to protect those I felt that couldn’t protect themselves. my mom she always told me to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. To befriend anyone that needed a friend. To never leave anyone out. And to always be true to myself. My moms words carry with me I’m 21 now. But back in high school at my senior prom my “Adam” was a sweet boy who had special needs. I worked with Special needs all my life I was always the kid the teachers would sit an “Adam” by to protect and help my teachers would ask me to protect them too. High school “adam” wanted to go to the prom. He got up the courage to ask the most popular girl to prom. She laughed in he’s face and called him many names. In front of the whole senior class. Will that really up set me. I already had a date but I turned around and told him I’m sorry but I got a new date to date smiled and said its always you isn’t it your always the one to rescue anyone that needs it i smiled. in the middle of her being a very mean person to “Adam” I asked him to the prom and he said yes. And me being the fighter that I was asked Adam if he could leave the lunch room with my best friend he said yea ok. So when he walked out I yelled at my whole senior class that laughed at him and told them a secret my mama told me. Be careful what to say to others and how you treat them because karma comes back around in a horrible ways. So watch out because your children or even grandchild will end up that way. And you will look back and cry for what you did to others that are the same way. And pray that someone will stand up for them like I just did. They laughed at me I smiled and told them that ok but remember more then half of you I’ve stood up for one day and now you take my kindness and use it in wrong way. your mean to another person who doesn’t deserve it the difference between you and him is that he has special needs and can’t help how he talkes and walks and how he looks you can. You choose to be ugly from the inside out while he shines with a beauty none of you can match he’s pure and sweet and kind he doesn’t know how to be mean like you guys he only knows how to smile and be nice and sweet. I had an amazing senior prom with my Adam we had fun and went to Chicago for the weekend after prom we talked he told me about he’s family and that he loved math. He’s still one of my best friends now and he’s doing very good in college. Because what no one knew but me Adam was are valedictorian and had the best grades. Now that was a shocked for our senior class when he gave the speech.

    • That is awesome, Sarah! You are awesome!!! I can only hope I can raise my son to be at least half as compassionate, caring, and brave as you! :)

  63. […] This. I want my kids to know this. From Glennon at Momastery. […]

  64. I’m new to your blog after seeing you on the Today show this morning. Reading this post touched my heart. As a teacher with hopes of being a parent someday, I feel empowered knowing that there are people out there who still believe in kindness, and are raising their children to be kind. I hold on to this fear that I’ll never be able to bring up a child in this world that at times can seem so full of hate and crazy. Your words bring me hope.
    Thank you.

  65. This letter is beautiful. It made me think about how important kindness is regardless if it’s your son’s first day of school. Our mantra at home with our two boys is: people are nice to nice people. What you put out there is what you will receive. Don’t judge others or yourself- be kind. My 6 and 8 year old boys are learning along with me at 40! They are getting it quicker than I am, that’s for sure!!
    Thank you for your honesty and great responses everyone.

  66. t starts younger then u think. today while at an easter egg hunt my son, one of the littliest and shiest at almost 2 got no eggs. a little boy came up to us, around 5 or so and said , i saw everyone was rushing to get eggs before u could so i made sure i picked the green ones for u . and handed my son 7 eggs specifically for him. i cried a bit . my son was not hurt by not getting eggs. he didnt understand obviously. but this 5 yr old did. i quickly found his dad and thanked h for such an amazing little boy. he said ” he is always doing those things and necer wants anyone left out . no other parent has ever thanked us. i just smiled nodded with tears in my eyes and told him id see him around at the park . i wanted to say more like tell me how u did this. how can i make sure my son does the same things but i was afraid of looking silly.

    • Honey, I think that if you told him you admired the job he did with his son and wanted to do the same with yours, he would be flattered, and feel good, and want to help you. You can’t learn if you don’t ask, and if people make you feel silly for asking, that’s OK. They are obviously bad teachers, so just move on. They should feel badly, not you.

  67. Jesus came to the earth to save the sinners. He loves those who sin, but that does not mean that He tolerates the behavior. To be Christlike is to love everyone, no matter what they do or who they are, and to treat them with love and kindness, but that doesn’t mean that we can tolerate every action or behavior.
    I think people who don’t believe this need to be careful to not be intolerant of those of us who do in the same way that we are accused of being intollerant towards homosexuals.

  68. Oh my gosh! I can hardly see through my tears to write this – so much beauty on one small web page. Thank you all! I wish every parent read this letter to their babies! My daughter is a little bit of an Adam…in spite of being beautiful and bright and kind and compassionate, she is very much an observer, shy until she is comfortable, and is often alone in the schoolyard. She just isn’t interested in the games other kids want to play, or know what to do with the unkind things they say. It breaks my heart every day. If only more parents encouraged their kids to reach out like this. Thank you for sharing.

  69. […] kind filled with tender moments. Moments of gratitude to the point of tears. It began when I read this, and then it only escalated from there. One of those days where your heart is a bit softer, your […]

  70. I was Adam. Not in all the same ways, but the child of a single mom who lived in HUD housing and struggled every day to make it work.

    I never fit in at my first school. We moved 1 month in to 3rd grade, and I was pretty certain that I wouldn’t have any friends at my new school either.

    But then – the popular girl in my class invited me to join their group (which was pretty much everyone). I will never forget her kindness. And yes, I remember her name. Reagan Ashker, you literally changed my life.

    • Nichole;

      I loved your response. And it made me wonder, when you thanked Reagan, what the odds would be that she would find and read the note…

      So I’m writing you to suggest taking your note a step further. Reagan has a very unusual name. And Facebook is pretty popular… I wonder if you could find her profile… What a joy it would be to her to know that her act of kindness so many years ago would come back to bless her now…

      God Bless you both.


      • OK, couldn’t resist. Did you know there is a Reagan Ashker who teaches in Jacksonville FL and was teacher of the year? She’s ALL over the Internet – quite a rising star in education. Pretty blond gal… Just wondering, grins…

  71. […] (originally published on august 28, 2011 on […]

  72. I think this can apply for adults as well. I would change some of it a bit, as I do want my future kids to strive to be the best they can in academics, but I really like this and will remember to do something like this for my children one day. Thanks for sharing :)

    • I agree with Desi. I love the whole message except for telling the child you don’t care if he/she does their best in school. I never wanted my kids to feel they had to compete with others for honors or grades but I expected them to do their best at everything. We go to school to learn many things… compassion certainly is one of those things, but we are also there for the academics which are very important! I love the story and this would be great for my grandkids, but I would change it a little too! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story it is a keeper!

      • I don’t think she saying he doesn’t have to DO his best, she’s just relieving him of the pressure kids feel to BE the best. There’s a huge difference. I’m glad my parents always told me, we don’t care if you make A’s or C’s as long as you tried your hardest.

        • Yes Stephanie, This! She says she isn’t worried about making straight A’s, which is not the same thing as saying she doesn’t want him to make his best effort. And also that it is more important to be brave and kind than it is to make A’s. The fact that there are lots and lots of moms and dads agree that A’s and accolades for “best” and athletic letters equal winning life and are more important than kindness and compassion is what’s wrong with the world.

  73. […] among the hundreds of thousands of people who read and were moved by Glennon Doyle Melton’s yearly talk to her son about what’s important at school: Chase – When I was in third grade, there was a little boy […]

  74. My daughter is in first grade. She has a special needs boy in her class. I was always wandering how he was doing and how the kids in her class was treating him. I have worked with special needs kids & I know it’s hard for them to fit in. I was such a proud Mom during our teacher conference meeting with her teacher. She informed me my daughter always makes sure he is not left out & has someone to play with and that she also helps him with his work when she’s finished with hers. Love her compassion!

  75. Wow – if only adults too would show this type compassion for others, in what a wonderful world we would live. Personally I think every teacher should share this in class. I’m going to share with my teacher friends.

  76. When my oldest son was in kindergarten he came home from school one day telling me he needed a new box of crayons. Not a big deal but we had just bought him a new box a few days earlier when he started school. Before I could ask what happened to the crayons he had taken to school he told me that there was a boy in his class that didn’t have any crayons and he gave him his. He said he knew that we could buy a new box and maybe this little boy’s mom and dad couldn’t buy him a box. That was 13 years ago and I still remember it like yesterday….the first time my son showed compassion. He has many times since showed this gift that he has and I am so proud of him!

  77. I remember when my daughter was in school. She graduated in 2010. There was a boy on the bus who smelled and who was treated horribly by the other kids on the bus. She came home one day and told me about what happened on the bus. That some kids brought an air freshener on the bus and sprayed the boy. She said the bus driver laughed about it. I asked her what did you do? She told me nothing. I felt bad for him but I did not know what to do. If I had said something those kids would have turned on me. She said she wanted to do something. We talked it through and she decided the next day she would go to the principal’s office and tell him what had happened. The other kids were disciplined and it turned out the reason he smelled so bad is because his water at home had a sulpheric odor (well water). It was not his fault and there was not much he could do to help it. But I know that my daughter standing up for him made a big difference to him. It is scary to stand up to bullies but so important. I love that you tell your son this every year. I just wish there was not the need to have to tell our kids about bullies.

  78. When I was in junior high there was a boy like Adam but he was always clean. He never had any friends and I felt so sorry for him. I always made a point that when I passed by him to say HI but he never said anything but that was ok. I knew that he got bullied alot so I understood. If my friends started saying something ugly I would stop them quick. He wouldn’t let anyone get close but I’m sure he had his reasons. That is how I raised my son and no matter who the person was he would be their friend and would standup to the bullies. He is 25yrs old now and has become a wonderful man who married the sweetest young lady. He serves in the Navy with nuclear subs and I am so proud of him.

  79. […] way from a spotty past. Nothing at all like me. In the specific post I came across entitled “The Talk“, she discussed what she and her husband do at the beginning of each school year with their […]

  80. Wow this is amazing.. it brought tears to my eyes.. I will certainly be having this talk with my children as they go through the grades of school.. Not sure how I could simplify this a little bit so I can tell my 5 year old the same message but a shorter version.. I’ll work on it I suppose.. Thanks xxx

    • Katie,

      There is a picture book called “One” by Kathryn Otoshi. It has a similar message about how it only takes one to stop a bully and that everyone can count. The author does an AMAZING job telling this message in an interesting way. Its one of my 4 year olds’s favorites. You should check it out.


  81. omg…that story was about me….well not really me, but, a kid just like me. :( life for me is so different now but when i was very young that was me….shy, dirty, smelly, i wore hand me down clothes and never had but maybe 1 friend. i wont say i have alot of friends now but i am married for 37 years now and i am still quite shy, although my husband is not. and he tries to get me out of the shell all the time. i even start conversations with people myself now….i’ve come a long way. wish there were as many kind kids as there were mean kids when i was growing up…i probably would have come out of my shell at a much younger age…o well it is what it is and i have 3 kids who love me and 6 grankids who do also and i just wish i had more friends in my life …. i do have 1 friend (besides my forever friend, my husband,)and i will keep her close to my heart forever

  82. I read the article and then Tyleena’s post. I am now a crying mess. As a mother I feel for those kids that are teased. Thank you for this letter. Inspirational and touching.

  83. It’s a beautiful letter, that’s true. I want to read it to my daugther but change a few things like … GOD. I mean, I believe in compasion, in love, in be brave for you and other, in help everyone who need it but even I respect who believe in god I just don’t even so my daugther is a good person who cares and respect other people like my husband and I do.

  84. I am not a mom but I am a teacher. This is a letter worth reading to a class. Thank you for putting into words what is so important in life. Best letter I have ever read.

  85. One of the high schools I went to, there were quite a few “Adams”. While talking to one of my teachers about an “Adam” in one of my classes, I was told about a group on campus that met every day at lunch called Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL). This was a group of students (there were only 5 of us) who were “assigned”, well, “Adams”. We were made aware of these kids who just needed a friend, someone to say hi, or to just talk or listen. There was one in particular who pulled REALLY hard at my heart. I was told by the other four that he wouldn’t talk to anyone, ever. As far as anyone knew, he had never spoken on campus. The other four hadn’t necessarily given up on him, but they had no idea how to help him, and neither did I. After talking to him every day for 2 months with no reply, I had almost given up. Until I realized I have help from a teacher. I had asked the teacher if she could write up a call-slip, get him out of class so I could talk to him one-on-one with no distractions, nobody around to judge him, just someone to listen, and to let him behave how he needed to to let me help him. THAT is what helped.

    We walked into a room, just the two of us, and I said ‘we have this room for the rest of the day, and I won’t let you leave without talking to me. Tell me your story, yell at me, scream, cry, just say SOMETHING” (which was funny because I was all of 4’8″ and he was close to 7’)
    … After about 20 minutes of silence…
    Him: Whats your name?
    Me: Tyleena.
    Him: Why do you care so much about me?
    Me: Because you haven’t given me a reason not to.
    Him: HA! How stupid an answer is that? So what, you care about everyone in the world until they wrong you?
    Me: Yes.
    Him: Doesn’t that hurt?
    Me: Sometimes.
    … Silence for another 20 minutes. He was just sitting there, thinking, looking sad.
    Me: are you OK?
    Him: You know that day you first started talking to me?
    Me: Yeah?
    Him: I had given up on life. I was thinking of the fastest way to be done with it.
    Me: What do you mean??
    Him: Oh come on, you know what I mean. I was going to kill myself.
    Me: I’m glad you didn’t.
    Him: I couldn’t, you wouldn’t let me.
    Me: I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
    Him: I don’t know how, but you were there… but not THERE.
    Me: I’m not sure what to say to that.
    Him: Are you real?
    Me: Last time I checked…
    …More silence… He stood up, pushed a chair over and yelled “HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!”
    Me, trying not to show I was scared: Do what?
    The teacher who gave me the call-slip came running in and asked what was going on. I told her he was my boyfriend and we were having an argument (she obviously knew the truth) and told her I was OK. She walked out.
    Him: Why did you tell her I’m your boyfriend?
    Me: She ran in here because of the noise you made, she wouldn’t have left us alone if I called you a stranger.
    Him: Good point. How do you know I wont hurt you?
    Me: Because you can’t.
    Him: How do you KNOW that?
    Me: You’re right… Can I ask something of you?
    Him: uh, sure?
    Me: As you probably know by now, I’m a little weird, and I believe weird things. Like hugging makes bad feelings go away. I’ll be honest, you scared me when you pushed the chair. Would it be possible for you to hug me, so that I can truly KNOW you wont hurt me?
    Him, looking at me like I was from Mars: You truly believe that?
    Me, smiling: Yes, so are you going to or not?
    Him: Yes.
    We hugged and he just melted in my arms, sobbing, and thanking me for everything.

    That experience has changed me forever. He is now a happy, wonderful man. :)

    • Wow! U r an awesome person and God has special plans for u! :)

    • Thank you so much for sharing this story. I don’t even know what else to say but my heart is smiling. :)

    • Wow, that was an amazing story! Thank you for sharing.

    • I have been crying since I started reading the original story/letter. And crying even more now after reading this. Amazing how God works through people! God bless you for your incredible compassion.

      There are so many hurting people that need someone like you. To care, to not give up on them. To not think “well, I tried. I said hi and they’re just rude and didn’t reply back.”

      I think a lot of times people genuinely care, but don’t know how to go about helping. This story gives a specific situation where it REALLY makes a difference, and how a person can actually go about doing something. A single “hello” could be the start of someone’s life being saved.

      Thanks for sharing this!

    • You inspired me. I am in school now and I have trouble doing what you did. Thanks you so much for your compassion and passion to do what is right. I hope I can be as great of a person in God as you are. And I truly believe God has special plans for you. Thank you.(:

    • What an inspirational story!!!! We all need to be the change that we want to see happen. God does have a special place for you.<3

    • This is such a beautiful story. God bless you for everything you did for this young man. I was never popular but always had friends. I always said that you have to at least talk to the quiet kids. They have something to say just give them a chance.

  86. And what talk do you have if you find out your kid is the ‘Adam’ in the class??

    • Your question pierced my heart, and it is a vitally important one. I wish we could go have a cup of coffee or two together and figure out what that talk might sound like. I’m going to try and write some things down and see what I come up with. <3

      • Your letter made me cry.

        My three boys are “Adams”. My eldest (9) has Aspergers and Tourettes and my younger boys (8 & 7) have been affected by it both socially and emotionally.

        I wish I had the words to help them………

        I also wish that every child in their classes were given your letter.


    • I think when your child is an “Adam” you tell them that who they are is good enough. That nobody has a right to hurt them, ever, whether with words or hands. That they have a right to be speak up and tell an adult. That’s it’s okay to say “no, you don’t get to treat me that way.” I have this kind of talk with my son at the beginning of every year, and this year he did it. A kid said “I hate you” to him and immediately told the teacher. He stood up for himself. Just tell them they are loved.

    • This was what I was wondering, as my daughter is starting Kindergarten and has always been unique. She is very high energy.

  87. Thank you for this story.. it is a wonderful lesson for all of us to learn.

  88. […] can say: Find a boy or a girl at school who seems lonely, who people tease, and offer to play with him. Stand up for someone when people are being mean, […]

  89. What beautiful people you and your husband are, and I’m sure that your children are the most wonderful little people as well. I’ve never read anything so inspiring and I will keep this for my little man as he gets older. He is only 1 right now and with everything that is going on in the world today (babies being shot in CT) I shudder a little to think what his future may hold. I pray every night over his little body that God keeps him safe in his embrace. His older brother is 14 and a freshman in high school. I worry even more about him, because we have been very protective of him and not allowed certain games and music in the house. All of his friends and classmates are allowed to do so much more than he is. I don’t want either to grow up too fast, but it seems like childhood is over before you know it.
    Thank you for this wonderful story, I needed a reminder of what life really is all about!!

  90. This made me cry a little. I think I should print this not for the kids, but for myself as well. Even grow ups need reminders.

    I remember in high school, my friend “Cain” was dating a girl and she began teasing a kid on the bus. In rural Arizona, it was still common in 1998 to not have running water or electricity, and this boy bathed maybe once a week. She called him a dirt ball and probably several other names. Cain dumped her, on front of everyone, and chose to sit with the “dirtball”. Cain was different – he filed his teeth in to fangs, did too many drugs, got on trouble, but to me he was always a bit of a hero too. I think about him a lot, some 14 years later, and think maybe knowing him made me a better person, and maybe his bravery gives me something to live up to.

    Life is already cruel – maybe it’s up to each of us to make it more kind.

  91. For those of you who are focusing on the spelling mistakes or the section mention “I don’t cares” I think you should look deeper into this whole blog. I don’t think the point of the message was for the child to think his mom and dad don’t care. The point behind this message was to portray acceptance and give the child a different set of eyes than the ones that they might turn to out of fear of being accepted by their peers.

    • They are trying to teach the truth that all the worldly (academic) success you might achieve in your life will never have the same power to change some one else’s life for the better as will the practice of compassion and love. Everything else you do should be considered second to that. Would you rather raise a child that was a straight A student but indifferent to the well being of those around them, or one who gets average grades but cares enough about others to reach out, especially to those who are “different.”

      They’re not saying, “Don’t do your best.” They’re saying, “Get your priorities in order.” You can get by in this world without being the highest achiever of whatever, but the exercise of compassion is what makes you the best human being you can be.

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