I know a person that is strong. He is brave, kind and a hard-worker. He is compassionate and he sees beauty all around him. This person was created by our loving father in heaven and pieced together so thoughtfully. God gave this person a heart that is both fierce and soft. A mind that is quick and deep. This person that I know can feel what other people are feeling, and he does all he can to support others. I am so blessed, because this person is my son. Walker, this person is you.
How is it that you are 5-years-old and can understand a person’s heart? How is it that you are 5 years old, but you are wise enough to pull me aside to take a moment to admire the beautiful, blue sky? How is it that you have the emotional/spiritual wisdom to support me, your dad and your siblings? How is it that you are so strong and kind, yet a child?
You are all of the amazing things I just listed. You are all of those things and more. You have so many qualities that I can’t even put into words. Also, though, you are shy. Shy is not a bad thing, and it’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s part of how God made you, and it’s not a mistake. The one thing about being shy, though, is that it can make school difficult.
Today you went to Kindergarten. You were excited. The days leading up to it, and even this morning, you were feeling confident. I smiled at you and for you, because I wanted to encourage you to stay excited. In the back of my mind, though, I had a feeling that when you arrived to Kindergarten… things would be different.
Walker, you held tight to me at school today. You wouldn’t let go, and I knew that if I were to force you to let go, it would have made things much, much worse. Your teachers are kind and intuitive, though, and they went to get your brother, Weston, to be with you. For your own good and growth, I had to leave. But for you, it was important to know that you were not going to be abandoned. So your brother left his class to be with you. That’s what you guys do for each other. I know that there is no doubt that you would be there for Weston, too, if the roles were reversed.
My heart was breaking as I left you in your classroom, with your big brother holding your shoulders. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I didn’t cry because you’re always strong for me, and I needed to be strong for you.
Walker, I promise that I left you in a safe place. I left you with people who care about you. Not just the fact that you’re a number in a classroom, but they care about who you are. I have every confidence that the people I left you with will see past the wall of “shy” and see the person that I know.
I will be praying for you every day while you are at school. I will be praying that God will hold you in his strength. That you will remember that you were created for a purpose, just the way you are. I will pray that you will know that there is always, always, always, grace to grow. And I will wrap you in my arms when you get home. As I’m wrapping you in my arms, I know that you will wrap me in your arms, and you will generously give me as much of your strength as you can. Because that’s what you do. That is the person I know.
Yesterday, your little sister took about 200 crayons and scattered them throughout the house. she ripped up little pieces of paper and let them rain down everywhere. It was such a mess, and in all her 3-year-old stubbornness, she refused to clean it up. Because I love her and want what’s best for her, we engaged in a nearly 2-hour clean-up battle. She needed to learn that she was responsible for her actions. You saw how my anger grew with her stubbornness. You saw how I was exhausted, and you saw how your sister needed some grace. You encouraged her to keep cleaning up the crayons, and then you got out the broom and started sweeping up the bits of paper. You respected my wishes for her to clean up the crayons on her own, yet you still showed kindness and grace to both her and I by rolling up your sleeves and doing what you could.
That is the person I know.
So it’s OK to be shy and it’s OK to be afraid. Just don’t ever forget that when you are afraid, you have the opportunity to be brave. And please don’t forget that you’re more than shy. You are strong, you are wise, you are kind, you are compassionate, you are immensely loved, and you are full of grit and grace.
I love you, buddy. Welcome to Kindergarten.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”