A letter to my Son,
My darling Zack…
I’m sitting here, in the last few hours of the Christmas holiday.  We’ve just begun a new year, 2013, and you are growing into such a promising young man that I feel a real need to let you know quite how proud I am of you.
So instead of writing my normal home notes to school, I am writing you this letter.  It is not meant as just a private letter, and I intend to share it with staff at school so that they, too can see how happy we are with your efforts.
I know that you have had a tough time at school this year so far.  In spite of difficulties, you have shown that you can maintain your focus in class and keep on showing improvement.  You have impressed staff with your ability to be kind, helpful and also to keep yourself out of disturbances that do not concern you.
When you came home, I know that you and staff were really struggling with matters concerning personal hygiene.  I won’t lie to you, this was bothering me a lot.  It is so difficult to explain why hygiene is so important; it is not only a vital part of good health, but a measure of your awareness of others.  You see, as much as we take care to minimise things that upset you (loud noises, certain hand gestures, the words or phrases we use), so we expect you to take care to minimise things that make us uncomfortable.  Body odour is a big one!  But it’s also very difficult to talk to a young man about this without causing huge and painful embarrassment.  And the last thing I want to cause you is pain or embarrassment.  I am wonderfully, happily proud to say that you “manned up” to this problem and tackled it perfectly at home.  You only needed the slightest prompt to have your shower, which you did extremely well, every day.  Well done, Zack.
I am more proud of the way you have handled yourself this holiday than I can say.  You have followed our rules with almost no argument.  You have made efforts to be a real part of the family and you have tolerated the withdrawal from your laptop with a maturity that does you great credit.
Each morning when you come down for breakfast, I see a young man who has taken care of his appearance, and is willing to put a little effort to fulfill our expectations (a shower every evening and deodorant evening and morning have meant that you have been a delight for the senses, both visual and olfactory – you look and smell great!).
We have seen a young man who has full control of his language and knows that offensive language should be limited to a very small time and company.  We have seen you master your frustrations and show us true respect.  We know quite how difficult that can be for you, and your mature behaviour is a sign of how much you care for us.
As your mum, I was moved to see you and your Dad work so beautifully together.  I saw how much you loved learning to program, and I also saw how much Dad loved to teach you.  To see you both doing something together, both working to solve problems, was a very special moment for me.  I have loved to see your perseverance to keep working until that problem is solved in spite of the frustrations you experienced.
It has been a little more difficult to get you out of the house, but once in your shoes and outside, you’ve shown that an outing occasionally leaves you smiling and engaged.  I know that you loved your special day in London with Dad, and he’s looking forward to the next one!
So I am looking forward to driving you back to school in the expectation that you will take these new habits and keep moving forward.  I fully expect to hear from staff that you are a model of personal care and hygiene.  I also expect to hear that you are making an effort to moderate your language whenever you are within the earshot of adults.  I do understand that when chatting to friends you might let that slip, but I would be very sorry to hear that bad language had been used around staff.
You have shown your talents musically, which continue to improve, and I feel that you can begin to take some leadership roles in the school with Mr Moore’s help.  You will have to let him know that you are willing to take on some responsibilities, and that you would like to help with concerts and other such events (assemblies?).  Combining work in your private lessons with some hard work, I believe that you can achieve beautiful things in music.
I know that you have worked really hard in the holiday in the field of computer programming.  For you to excel in this area in the future, you will need to achieve qualifications in maths and ICT amongst others.  That will mean doing work that you may be much less interested in.  Try and remember your long term goal, and get those more mundane and boring units completed as well and as quickly as you can.  You will be amazed at how quickly the work will become more interesting.
I’m excited to see how you will progress in your lessons this term, and I’m especially keen to see some good effort marks.
You are brimming full of potential, Zack, and my honest opinion is that you are just beginning to be able to achieve it.  I hope you will grab life with both hands (figure of speech!), and work hard to reach those ambitious goals of yours.
With pride beyond imagining and love that fills the universe, I will always be…
Your Mummy

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