My first day at work the day after we found out we were pregnant with Ellie was different. My students were no longer just my students; they were someone else's children. The drive home from the hospital with Ellie was different; I had never been such a cautious driver. So while the first day of school this year brought many of the same feelings it has brought in past years, it also brought new feelings. With that, I offer this letter to all educators from all mommies and daddies, especially this one.
Today you take my most prized possession into your hands. There is nothing I wouldn't do for her. Nothing. If you are a parent you understand what I feel for her. If you are not, it is nearly impossible to describe. She's my world. And now, she's under your watch.
She is a human, and therefore inherently deserving of respect, kindness, and patience. I know how tough your job is. I know firsthand. Please, always give her the respect, kindness, and patience she deserves.
She is eager to learn. She once said to me, "Daddy, I never want to stop learning and dancing." I hope that spirit never dissipates. I fear that it will. But you can help with this! Inspire her, challenge her, believe in her. Appeal to her natural curiousity. Remember that she came into this world knowing nothing and being able to do nothing (besides cry, eat, and poop). From there, without any lesson plans, she learned to walk, talk, sing, count, dance, laugh, and think. She chose to learn how to do each of those, and so many more, on her own. Please help me keep that spirit burning.
She is unique. As many first-time parents do, we watched her progress as an infant to a toddler and compared her to other children. Is she talking yet? Should she be walking yet? My child knows where her toes are! However, we quickly came to realize that none of that matters. She would develop as she would develop. She may be better than her elbow-partner at math and not-better-than her table group at science. She may be shy in class, or (more likely) may want to answer every question. Regardless, she is unique. There are no other models of her. Please remember that.
And finally, she is mine. As I said, there is nothing I wouldn't do for her. Sirens sound different when you become a parent, because even though you know your wife and daughter are at home safe and sound, you wonder - could that be my family? So please, I beg of you, keep her safe. Watch over her, because during those hours that she is with you, I cannot.
Thank you so much. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.