Saturday, July 26, 2014


I read this on Medium yesterday.

At first I was all in love with how much Philip Kovacs obviously cares for his son and how studied he is on the issue of early childhood education. The guy can pull strings. His concern is for all the kids. Oh look, his boy builds forts and a robot and is eager to discover what happens past the number twelve. And why can't his son, you know, just hang out, become kinder and more courageous and compassionate? 

His desire is to have his child's kindergarten teacher instruct on matters of perseverance, impulse control, resiliency, and how to think about thinking.

The letter feels like hot chocolate by a warm fire on a cold winter's night.
A night when I would pull my favorite blanket over my feet and write an open letter to Philip Kovacs.

Dear Philip,

What you wrote to your son's kindergarten teacher felt good. I loved how you love your son. Not only that, you are obviously well educated and thoughtful. I can only assume you did not receive your schooling in the United States. Finland, maybe? How was the parenting there? How old were you when your Finnic parents suggested that you learn some tavallisia sanoja, because they thought common words would assist you in your attempt to communicate with others? Did you simply speak gibberish till the age of seven? We need to know that because you communicate well, and here in the U.S. we are always trying to do better for our children.

In the USA we are in constant study of how to help our children become better communicators and critical thinkers and leaders and creators. We never want a child to be left behind or cry or go hungry or have to consider he may not be as great a reader as the next guy or girl (don't even get us started about gender and learning).

Your child's teacher put the word kind as a sight word on the list you received, and I do understand that you were too busy to go over this list with him. It is likely that you will have no worries because most American kindergarten teachers I have met are compassionate toward the various special needs of the children in their rooms. And though it will take courage for you to let your baby's hand go, Philip, you are likely to learn how resilient your precious angel is. He will have to think about thinking, possibly control his impulse to run, as he walks into a center of learning (sometimes called a classroom) filled with strangers.

So, with a little perseverance you will allow your child's kindergarten teacher to do what she came and trained to do. Then you'll notice how your child starts teaching you. As the mother of a son who is graduating this December from an American University after a lovely and sometimes not so much study in public education, I will say that somehow, somewhere, someway there came a love of learning and he started teaching me. And not even drinking hot chocolate by a warm fire on a cold winter's night can beat it.


P.S. Don't blink. It all happens way too fast.

Today, again, I am grateful for our teachers.

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