Sunday, August 10, 2008


Here is the letter I wrote to Samuel's teacher. I'm sure I put a little too much thought into it. I hope she doesn't think I'm a nut job.

These two pictures of Samuel say a lot. Look at those eyes, so full of life, and so mischievous! He will pick up almost anything, tadpoles, snakes, lizards, all sorts of bugs, or skulls from dead animals. If it’s wild, he loves it. We have a big backyard that is untamed and he finds his own fun. Samuel loves to create adventures. His imagination is amazing and he is always coming up with some treasure he needs to dig up or bad guys he needs to get. He’ll pack his backpack full of stuff, take his little sister and go have an adventure. They usually come back muddy, faces caked with dirt, and full of mosquito bites(take a look at his legs! I do spray him, I promise!) But I admit, I like seeing my kids dirty and happy.

One day, Samuel was playing with a bunch of the neighborhood kids. When they got back, I took a look at the bunch of them. Everyone was dry but my boy. He did not have a dry spot on him. One of the older kids said, “I told him to jump over the creek but he just jumped right in!” That’s Samuel. If there’s a puddle, he’s in the middle. Mud, he’s up to his knees! We’ve had lizards, frogs, and who knows how many bugs escape his hands in our house. So he’s a bit of a wild kid.

His curiosity knows no bounds. He has broken so many toys, trying to figure out how they work. Just yesterday, I found one of my calculators completely taken apart. He had gotten a screwdriver, unscrewed everything and looked at the inside. I find my shampoo mixed with my conditioner, eggs in the dogs water, all sorts of stuff in the freezer(“I just wanted to see what would happen if it froze“), and his sister’s hair a few inches shorter…. As we say in our house, if you look the other way, he’s in trouble. And most of it is not malicious. His brain just never stops. And I have a hard time keeping him busy enough.

He has to understand a rule in order to follow it. If he thinks he is right, he will break the rule, regardless of who is in charge. He pushes boundaries as far as someone will let him. If he can get away with it, he will. I’ve found that if you approach him in a gentle and respectful manner, explain the boundaries, he responds well. Firmness with a lot of love, that’s the type of discipline that works with Samuel. He loves to please so verbal praise works great with him. He does not like to be in trouble. Most times, as soon as he does something he isn’t supposed to do, he regrets it. He’ll comment, “My brain just stopped working.” I know it’s because he’s impulsive and has a hard time thinking before he acts. His preschool director told me last year, “One day he’ll be the boss of us all.” Maybe . But I want him to respect authority and realize that he is not the boss.

Honestly, school worries me a little bit. Samuel does not fit into a regular box. He is way outside of the box. He has the potential to be a phenomenal student. He loves to learn. He’s bright. He learns quickly. But he wants to learn on his terms. If it’s science or math, he’d be a happy camper. These seem to come naturally to him. But writing takes work. He makes mistakes. He gets frustrated. So, he doesn’t want to do it. Same with learning to read. Could he be reading by now? Yes. Did I try this summer? Yes, for a few days. But he fought me on it. So I let it go.

Samuel hasn’t been an easy kid to raise. He needs a lot of attention. He would have made the perfect only child. I could answer his three thousand daily questions without having to worry about taking care of his sister. But I would not want him any other way.

This is the beginning of a journey for Samuel. Both George and I hope and pray that school will be a positive outlet for him. One of my favorite books is “The Little Prince”. The Little Prince comes across a fox who is untamed. Here is what the fox says to the Prince. “If you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life.” And that is what Samuel needs. A teacher who will tame him, but not break his spirit.

Your hands will be full with twenty wiggling bodies. I admire you for loving this age group. Please know that we will support you in anyway we can. Looking forward to a great year!
-Shelley and George