To my amazing fast-growing third graders,
I am so proud of you. You are each growing into such special individuals.
I can’t believe we are here. There are days we ever wondered if we’d stop changing your diapers (I know, embarrassing!), and now you’re doing laundry and even packing your own lunch (you know who you are).
Let me say this before anything else: I love you so very much. Daddy and I are the luckiest two parents in the world. We thought for years we’d never get to be a mommy and daddy, and then you three came and filled up every single little corner in our lives. There never has been, nor will there ever be, a more amazing gift.
I remember third grade. Surprising, I know because I’m so old! I just remember a little though because we’d moved to a new state and I was in a new town. I was very shy and it was hard for me to make friends. Books and my room became my favorite escape.
But you three, oh my how you have made so many wonderful friends.
With this tribe, comes a great obligation. I would ask you now to learn to be kind and loyal. Galatians 5 tells us that as Christians we should be bearing these “fruits:” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I’m still working on every bit of that now. It’s oh so hard. Even with each other these traits are hard. But practice it with your friends at school.
The Bible is chock full of how to be a good friend and neighbor:
- Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:39);
- Do unto others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31); and,
- Do not judge, forgive, and give to those around you (Luke 6:37).
Start practicing this now. We all have hard days. When you don’t understand why a friend or student is unkind or just outright mean, think about your worst days. And remember that even on those days Jesus loves and forgives you and then try to find a way to do that for others.
Lead. This one is hard, kiddo.
It’s tough to be different. We just had this conversation this week. When friends want to do one thing, it’s hard to do something else. But oh please hear this, it really only gets harder. And you need to build the muscles now to say no when they say yes or yes when they say no if it’s the right thing for you or the right thing to do. Don’t let your answers be swayed by others decisions. The Bible is clear on this one: Do not conform to the pattern of the world…test what God’s will is (Romans 12:2).
Work hard! Third grade is going to be hard. All the mommas and dads have told me third grade is a big jump up.
You’re growing up and maturing and getting smart. But that doesn’t mean things will always come easy. In fact, they definitely won’t. So you hang in there and you work hard. You keep at it. The harder it is, the tougher you’ll be when you figure it out. Be persistent. Be diligent. Do the work. Don’t ever rely on someone else. You do it. Colossians 3:23 says, whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord.
He knows you’re putting in the effort. And I do too. I’m so proud of you for being honest and hardworking.
As you get older, you’re going to hear some things which are bad. Downright nasty. Bad words, bad stories, untruths, and who knows what else. It’s easy for kids to get their ears on information from every type of source. Try to turn the bad off. Shut down the source of the bad. I know I said it earlier, but the sooner you figure out how to do some of this stuff, the better you will be at it when you get older. There’s a lot of yucky out there, but there’s such good too. Remember, Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, think on those things (Phil. 4:8).
If you get scared or overwhelmed, I want you to know I am always here. I will crawl in bed with you and visit about whatever it is, or I will sit quietly if you just need to process things. You’re going to have such wonderful days ahead this year but you’ll have hard ones too. And dad and I are always here. Whether you’re in third grade or you’re thirty. When you get nervous and scared, do not be anxious but in every situation present your requests to God (Phil 4:6). He’s always there. Even in the middle of a hard day at school when you can’t get to me. You can always get to him.
Hey there, I love you. I love your smile. I love your laugh. You are an extraordinary human being. You are going to rock this third grade year. We’re going to get more patient and kind together this year, with God’s help.
Love you more,