Ethan, you graduated from preschool.
You walked up to the mic and said you wanted to be a “firefighter” when you grow up. You sang your graduation song, and you tossed your cap into the air. Cutest thing in the world.
It was so fun. This is your last official summer “at home” before you start school. Big kid school. Kindergarten. I have written a letter to you as you (and our family) prepares for this change. I am so excited for this next chapter you will live.
You are going to kindergarten!
I’m oddly excited about this. I think you’re going to love being in the “real world of big kids!”
But let me tell you, I’ll miss having you at home during our mamadays. Watching you create stuff on your own. Bringing you on adventures around our community. Adventures of biking and scootering, parks and beaches. Doing endless activities together. Doing the boring meaningful everyday with you. The everyday of making muffins and eggs, getting groceries, walking to the park, teaching you to read and color in the middle of a weekday. SO many cuddles and snuggles. I know that time is coming to a close.
And just between you and me, don’t you worry. We’ll rearrange our evenings and weekends and breaks and summer to continue loving on you in ways you love.
Here’s what I want you to know.
Your world is about to expand by 500%. You will be exposed to so many new things, even more than your public preschool. You will continue to learn about different holiday traditions and families that come in all shapes and sizes. You will be exposed to words and clothes and sights and habits that are unfamiliar. And ultimately, you’ll be exposed to other values, religions, languages, and world views. When you see and hear all of this, I know you may feel confused. And that’s okay; it’s part of growing up. Even me, as an adult, I feel confused at new things in the world I didn’t know about. I need to work through those things too.
I want you to know you can always pray for God to help you to know what is true and good. I want you to know you can always look in the Bible for how Jesus lived and treated people and how God rescues people when they feel lost. You can always come to me or daddy to ask questions — and if we don’t know the answer, we’ll find it together. Our prayer is that we can show and teach you how to hear God’s voice.
I want you to know that you’ll quickly become ‘one of the many’. In a public school you’re not going to get undivided one on one attention. But I also know you’re great with independence. So if you feel like no one’s paying attention to you, that’s okay. You can be patient.
Someday soon you’ll get sucked into the good grades system. The rewards and applause you get for getting A’s. We’ll do it unknowingly as parents, your teachers will do it constantly. And I think it’s good to do your best to learn about how the world works and prove that to the adults. BUT. I want to you to know that grades are not about your heart and your character. I want you to focus on your heart. I want you to love.
When you sit with your friends, don’t think you’re more special than the kids you’re sitting next to. Because every kid you see, they are made by God. They may not know it, but they’re created to know God and love God. The sad part is, you can’t make them love Jesus. But you can show them how Jesus is — you can show them kindness, gentleness, and love. You can share what you have, and put other’s before yourself. You can be strong and brave and stand up for what’s right. The rest of their heart is up to Jesus.
Know this: when you sit in the middle of all those kids, you are the only Ethan Klein in that room. Your gifts God gave you, your heart, your interests, your future with Jesus — are your own. You may be one of many kids, but only you can be the Ethan Klein that God created.
I want you to walk away from the bully, and take with you the kid’s hand that’s being bullied.
I want you to give your food to someone who didn’t have money for their own.
I want you to run with laughter at recess, paint with abandon in art, and play loudly in music.
I hope you learn the names of everyone in your class. I hope you find one thing that is beautiful about each kid in your class — something only they have. And I want you to know that seeing these things in people is the best way to learn how to love others like Jesus loves them.
I hope you treat your teachers with respect, regardless if they treat you fairly or with respect in return.
I hope you look forward to being in school, and equally look forward to coming home.
We picked this school for you because we’re excited for you to learn and play there. We love that it’s a neighborhood public school. We love that it specializes in international studies and that you’ll get to learn another language. We did not choose homeschooling or a Christian school on purpose. We want you know right away that the world is filled with people who don’t know Jesus, that we don’t need to be scared of differences.
How do we know you’ll be okay? Primarily because you below to God, not us. But also because you’re already asking us questions about right and wrong, things your friends say, what’s true and pretend, what’s a lie and what’s good, clarifying words that are loving or hateful. We love your desire for truth, order, and experiences. Every year we’ll sit down with you and ask about school and if this school-type is the right choice for you and our family. Someday if something different is needed, we’re okay with change.
Buddy. We are on your side. We will cheer you on from behind, and equally lead the way ahead of you. And each year, as you get older, we’ll be praying that you’ll be following Jesus’s lead a little more and more.
Love, mom and dad