To Josh As You Begin the Second Grade


Dear Josh,

Tomorrow morning you will wake up and start a new journey. Every school year brings new adventures and each one of those moments sews another stitch into the tapestry of life long learning. I loved second grade. I can still remember the classroom, the carpet we sat on for story time, and my second grade teacher. Her name was Mrs. Doaks, and I thought she was wonderful. She was the person who opened the door to reading for me, as I can still remember her reading James and the Giant Peach to us as we sat around her on that colorful carpet, with big numbers on it looking up at her in awe. To this day I can still see the Centipede and the Cloud Men, as she vividly brought the characters to life through the change of inflection in her voice and the art projects she would make us do after each chapter. At Christmas time, she had each of us choose our favorite home cooked meal and have our parents write it out for a classroom cookbook. The recipe I put in was called, “Daddy’s Chili.” We made our own cover to the book and then gave it to our parents as Christmas presents. I still have it to this day.

This year is going to be so much fun for you. You are starting to really grow into your own person and your personality is very fun. You will make a lot of friends this year and I have no doubt that you will grow to be a strong leader of your class. You are gentle and believer in peace. This will carry you far as you and your friends start to explore relationships and the greater world around you.

I realize that you still struggle with reading and know it scares you, but rest assured, you will read. The world was not meant for everyone to learn at the same pace as each human being has their own gifts and talents. You have yours. Your imagination is incredible and ability to problem solve is off the charts. You just have to know that your talents are yours and yours alone and that education is not a competition to be won. Human beings are not cyborg robots learning everything at the same time, at the same pace, and in a factory of education. We are creative beings that were meant to explore and create. We were meant to reason and negotiate. You are on the right path. Trust yourself. 

My hope for you this school year is to love to read, not just learn to read. I want you to speak well one day and that comes from having a love for words. I want you to continue to develop that love for math you have (something you certainly didn’t get from me). I want you to make a lot of friends and do things that will create lifelong memories. Do things that children are supposed to do. Run, play, laugh out loud, get dirty, get in an argument, pout, and explore. EXPLORE! Explore everything. Touch things and break things. Make mistakes. You are so afraid of mistakes.  I see it in you. Don’t be. There is no better way to learn than through trial and error.

Second grade is a wonderful time. This is your time to be 7. I will be there for you, as will your dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Nannie, Aunt Christy, Aunt Jen, and a host of others who love you. Always remember that bullying someone is wrong and I won’t tolerate it. Hurting another person requires an apology. Saying please and thank you is a necessary part of being a good person. Hold the door for a lady. Listen to those older than you and never back talk your teacher. It’s important to note, that 9 times out of 10 I’ll take the teacher’s side so the, “She doesn’t like me argument,” will never work. Make your own decisions and stick to them. Please also know that you will meet children in school who don’t have what you have. They might not have enough to eat or enough school supplies. Don’t be afraid to share with them and get to know them. They will need a friend like you more than you’ll ever know.

You are loved by many people, but don’t do anything for us. Do it for yourself. Education is a wonderful adventure and one many don’t take seriously. It’s something I take very seriously, but also love. I hope you will love it, too.

Welcome to Second Grade!