Monday, April 1, 2013

For Adam: Guest Post, Glennon Melton

In a world of hurting people, there are some who stand out as true compassion--not only able to transform the gift of kindness in a way that we all should be able to model, but to breathe it in a way that makes others around them want to be kind too.  My friend Glennon is the latter.  Her writing pulls out the things inside of you that you knew existed but perhaps just needed a reminder--the things that tell you that you're normal, that you're doing a good job, that you have the strength to face whatever you're dealing with, and that you are not alone--you are loved.  Her words are a hug, and her compassionate spirit is contagious.  The whole she's hilarious and relatable bit is just a bonus. I'm honored to call Glennon my friend, and I'm thrilled to share her words with you today.

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Oh, and she just had a baby.  Well, not a real baby, but her book baby hits shelves tomorrow.  Carry on Warrior is a collection of essays about life and struggles and making it work.  It's honest, hilarious and a reminder that the hardships we face as parents, daughters, wives, friends--they are shared.  And it's okay to screw up sometimes.  We are in this together.  So think of Carry on Warrior as a diary full of all of our stories.  It might not have kittens on the cover, but it's still purty. 

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Her words today--a letter to her son, Chase--were originally published on her blog, Momastery.  My favorite line: "It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd."


*****
For Adam
By Glennon Melton

Dear Chase,


Hey, baby.

Tomorrow is a big day. Third Grade – wow.

Chase – When I was in third grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam.

Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.

And I never talked to Adam, not once. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely.

I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me? Probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.

I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.
So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.

Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart-ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Chase! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.

Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.

Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.

Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’s team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.

When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too.

Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.

We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.

We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.

Kind people are brave people. Brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.

Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.

Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.

Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.

Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.

I love you so much that my heart might explode.

Enjoy and cherish your gifts.

And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.

Love,

Mama

*****

To read more of Glennon's words, check out Momastery--where all are welcomed.  And you might have seen her on the Today show this morning where she rocked it. 

61 comments:

Rosie Keisha said...

Beautiful words that touch all of us and can make a difference.

Stephen and Lacie said...

Think, if every parent told their kid this, there could possibly be less bullying! Such powerful words!

Lynn S said...

What a smart momma Glennon is! Can't wait to read her book.

Vanessa said...

Beautiful. I totally want to steal it and give it to my kids when they reach school age! This letter embodies the morals and gifts I want to instill in my kids. My daughter was born with a cleft, and she wears her difference right there on her face for everyone to see. I pray that the children in her class are brave and compassionate and that her childhood is filled with laughter and learning and fun - not bullying and tears.

Melanie said...

Wow! What a great letter for not only Chase, or a child, but for all of us. Compassion.

Meg said...

That was the post that introduced me to her blog. That is such good stuff. I've known Adams and I've been an Adam. Compassion is real and it is so sweet to see it in kids.

YeamieWaffles said...

This post is absolutely amazing and so so inspiring. Love it Kelle.

Katrina said...

This note to her son brings tears to my eyes. There have been a handful of Adams in my school years. I ignored all but one. One girl named Christina, I stuck up for her once. She was a second grader, like me. I told the kids to stop picking on her, because it hurt my heart to see if happen day after day. I was brave and and I told them all to stop. And they did. Christina naturally assumed that she had finally found a friend in me, and she followed me around during recess that day. My friends noticed her by my side, and they ignored me. And I didn't like that. So I turned to Christina and said in a very nice, polite voice, "You know, just because I stuck up for you doesn't mean I want to hang around with you." but no matter how "nice" you made your voice sound when you say something like that, it doesn't change the words. I will never forget how her face went from a smile to complete sadness in those few seconds. And I felt pain, too, after I said those words and saw the effect they made on her ... but I chose to ignore the feeling. I skipped off to join my friends and left a crushed Christina behind, once again alone on the playground. I was a girl who was kind to animals, kind to my friends, and was described as a very sweet and loving child by all adults who knew me. But yet, I was still capable of such cruelty. I'm 43 years old, and to this day the memory of that moment still haunts me :(

Susie Q said...

LOVE Glennon and her blog! Already ordered her book on Amazon and can't wait to get it and devour it immediately! She's so brutally honest about everything in life - how can you NOT love her??!!

Hope that baby Dash is doing great, Kelle - and you, too! And the big sisters, well, I know they are taking good care of everyone! ;-) Happy Week!

Clare Lank said...

Love this! Putting her book on my shopping list -- thanks for sharing!

On a different note, Kelle, I've been reading your blog for a couple years now and I was remembering your post about Lainey meeting the Easter Bunny -- thought you might enjoy this link as much as I did. Had me cracking up at work :) http://www.happyplace.com/15235/the-creepiest-easter-bunny-photos-ever-taken

Chasing Hazel said...
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Mandi Wolfswinkel said...

Through you Kelle, I was introduced to Glennon's blog and have become a self-proclaimed Monkee. I love reading your words, both of yours that inspire me to be a better mom, friend, sister, daughter and do better. Thanks for giving me something inspiring to look forward to every single day!

Chasing Hazel said...

I ADORE Glennon!!! She is so kind and compassionate. What I love and respect most is that she practices what preaches. The first post that I ever read was the one about her thinking (and wanting) she was going to have a child with Down Syndrome. I will forever respect her and try to be just like her when I grow up!!!

beth said...

Glennon's book is laying on the ottoman in front of me, ready to be opened. Isn't she SOMETHING?

hugs to you both today, xo beth

Aimee LH said...

Brought tears to my eyes. Such great words. May have to say some of them to my 3rd grade boy...

Rosa said...

My Adam was a boy named Hugh. Love this post and plan to use it in teaching my children.

Books at The Paperhouse said...

I have always loved this post by Glennon and am so glad it was included in this series. Thank you for this reminder. We are definitely all in this together.
So much love.

mswsarah said...
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mswsarah said...

I was also a child raised in poverty and picked on...I had one friend alone for much of my childhood. I understand and hope this message will be spread wide.

Melanee@simplylifestuff.com said...

Thank you for expressing what I feel for my son. I will definitely be borrowing some of your words to relay this same message to my 8 year old little guy.

Momma Holmes said...

I was hoping she'd be a guest blogger and was just wondering which of her posts you'd pick. So glad she has you and you have her and we have you both!

Sarah Ochoa said...

Knew you were a Monkee! She so did rock the Today show this morning =)

Kristyn Hiemstra said...

Momastery is awesome and Glennon is inspiring. Love seeing it featured here today :)

CM said...

I read this post with tears streaming down my face - the beauty, the simplicity, the profound rightness of a message that I have not yet thought to put into words for our kindergartner. I shared this on FB and cannot wait for our son to get home from school so I can read this with him. Just perfect.

Heather Kinkel said...

WOW. Thank you for sharing what a lot of us mamas think but don't take the time to communicate to our kids. I will be sharing this with my own. L O V E.

Miggy said...
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Miggy said...

I never get tired of reading that.

The kid in my 3rd grade class was Chris. He smelled and always had a very runny nose. I hope it's not bragging to say that I did talk to Chris. I sat by him and I became his friend. At least for a while...I don't remember the whole year. But he was nice and we had fun. I remember the teacher bringing me to her desk and thanking me for being his friend. I've never regretted being Chris' friend. However, I wish that I had carried that same compassion and bravery to middle school and beyond, where I often let my ego get the best of me. There were many more Chris' in my path that I did not recognize as the beautiful gifts they were/are.

I hope that all parents would read a version of this to their kids before each new school year. If kindness and compassion were really the top priority for parents this world would be even more amazing and I would have little to fear when I send my youngest off to school in a couple years.

Love to you both Kelle and Glennon.

Logan and Isabel said...

Oh wow, what a beautiful post. I am going to print this out and get my Year 3 son to read it. It is perfectly written...he will get it! My daughter has a birthmark on the tip of her nose, I sure hope she does not become an Adam... but with her big brother by her side I have faith she will not. ♥♥

Babs said...

At age 63, I can still remember the Adams in my elementary school. We had a Mark, and a Theresa. Mark was always, always silent. I don't remember ever hearing him speak, in class or at recess. Theresa was pale and thin, and vomited nearly every day. I'm sad and ashamed that I never knew them as friends, nor have I ever discovered the source of their sadness. This letter is priceless.

Lindsey said...

Lovely words. I am grateful that you shared them; I'm looking forward to reading Glennon's book!

Love is all you need said...

I found this letter on Pinterest last year and I plan on reading it to my kids every year before they start school. She really does put into words exactly what my heart is saying.

Gillian said...

Kelle, this is so beautiful... your friendship, your message, and the sweet letter about Adam. This is my first time commenting, but I felt the need to do so because I wrote about compassion on my blog today doseofhappiness.blogspot.com and linked to your post that you wrote back in January about negative criticism. How strange that we both chose compassion as today's topic, and that I happened to mention you in my post? Meant to be! Anyway, thank you always for your words of wisdom, your encouragement to be our best selves, and your beautiful pictures!

The Scott's said...

Love Glennon! I actually found her through your blog originally. I adore your friendship. You both have such wonderful writing styles and so raw and honest. I am lucky to be a part of your fanbase!

anita said...

Oh this just made me cry. My son is in 4th grade and he has a few true and good friends, but he's also been picked on a lot and my heart literally breaks. If all parents encouraged and taught to be brave and kind over everything else, my how the world would change.

Brave and Kind. What a mantra. <3

~Anita
@ http://losingaustin.blogspot.com

Granna said...

I'm off the subject, but I made a great video per your instructions but can't get it to upload to Facebook. Any suggestions?

Maria said...

Wow! That was powerful! I am sitting here in tears. I am also at gymnastics watching my young girls flip and flop and laugh. They are at such an impressionable age! I am copying this letter and giving it to them at the beginning of each school year! I think kids constantly need to be reminded to be compassionate bc fear is so much easier.
Thank you for posting this and introducing us to Glennon!

Kimmy said...

Beautiful post. I will check out your book. Kind people are very brave people-so true!!!

Kimmy said...

Beautiful post. I will check out your book. Kind people are very brave people-so true!!!

JennyV said...

Wow, that was beautiful. My daughter is only 1 year old, but someday I want to teach her all these wonderful life lessons that were written in this letter. Thank you for the read, it brought tears to my eyes.

Evelyn Louise said...

This is my favorite Momastery post!!!

Raelyn said...

That letter!! Mmmm. That letter!! It touched my deepest emotions. ;)
--Raelyn

The onion Farmers Wife said...

beautiful..........

Katie said...

Kelle, sometimes we really screw up. I'm not a parent yet, but based on the way my life often feels like a comedic movie, I'm sure i'll have a few doozies of parenting stories. If you'd like to read about my latest day of being a dumb a**, feel free to read it at www.katiemery.wordpress.com. Friends said it made them cry they were laughing so hard.

Tara L said...

I am a regular reader and lover of your blog but have never commented before. I saw this in my web travels and thought you would enjoy: http://www.people.com/people/mobile/article/0,,20687013,00.html
Hope the link works!

Kelle said...

Katie, your post. Oh my lord have mercy, it's the funniest thing I've read in a while. Thank you for sharing. I will never look at a grill cover the same!!!

Katie said...

Kelle, thank you so much for reading my post! I'm both honored and humiliated to share this little bit of my life with you. Enjoy your night! And, if you see a grill cover blowing in the wind, let that effing thing blow away! Or at least put a pair of pants on before chasing it down.

Kelly Sheehy said...

Absolutely amazing! :)

LadyDi said...

Love the message! I use to tell my kids to always welcome the 'new kid' that joins the class later in the year. I have been the new kid and I know how it feels. I stressed this over and over. They would proudly tell me if a new kid joined their class and what they did to help make them feel welcomed.

robin said...

Just love this!

Gigi said...

Beautiful, Glennon.

amber said...

Love this letter. I will be sharing this with everyone I know, big and little :)

Debbie - Painted Therapy said...

Sitting here crying over this post. LOVE these words. Just beautiful.

Jamie said...

Beautiful post. So glad to have found Momastery thru your blog! (Does Vanessa Diffenbaugh have a blog? Loved her book too.) Can't wait to read Glennon's!!

Kathleen said...

Beautiful words. Something each and every one of us can learn from.

Susan Martin said...

That was incredibly awesome! I wish I had said those words to my kids when they were in 3rd grade! I am sharing this on my FB so they can read them now and maybe will share them with their kids someday.
Thank you Glennon and Kelle!

Hannah said...

As the momma of a little boy that will at times I am sure be viewed as an "Adam" because of his extra chromosome, I hope that many momma's share this with their little ones, so that instead of feeling alone, my "Adam" Flynn will be recognised as a lovely independent soul worthy of both giving and receiving friendship.

Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth Beads said...

I told my kids the exact same thing. If there was a kid being teased or bullied, I told them to be the ones telling the teasers and bullies to knock it off. As a result both of my kids took some teasing and guff themselves. But their self-esteems was strong enough to take it and shake it off. They understood that popularity is unimportant but being a decent human being is very important. Today they are wonderful compassionate (and much loved and respected) young ladies who work for causes such as animal rescue and non-profit theater, and support human rights such as marriage equality.

allison said...

i'm sitting in my bed, having just put the littles to sleep, watching "you've got mail" and sobbing. sobbing from these sweet and dear words that shot straight from the computer screen into the middle of my chest. thank you, glennon. thank you so much. you see, my little guy, who is four years old, has autism. and every single day as I celebrate his brightness and progress, I also quietly and secretly mourn the fact that he is growing up. one more day farther from babyhood, one more day closer to childhood- to spending five days away from me, at school and in the midst of other children who will undoubtedly hold some of his self-worth in their hands. but you, oh you give me hope. you give me hope that there is kindness and compassion, and a little boy who has a strong mama standing behind him- a little boy who will show love and compassion towards mine.

sri said...

It only takes one other person to make you feel like you "belong" in this world. Rings so true.

I just started a blog! and I loved your last guest post by Melina as well!

Andrea B. said...

YES! I just FB-d and Tweeted you because I just finished bloom, but I am also reading Carry On Warrior to review, as well. What timing. This letter was beautiful. So much so. Love it!!

laksdjflaj said...

Let's hope you ACTUALLY told your kid that rather than just posting some bullshit that would make you look like a good person.