See that boy on the left? The one in blue...
He is 8 years old. He is in 2nd grade. At least once a week he tells me he can't wait to be a grown up so he can ride dirt bikes and do whatever he wants. But he also reminds me he is never moving out. He plans to live in the backyard.
We had his school conference last night.
His teacher told us all about his test scores for math. We talked all about developing skills versus proficient and the impact this challenging year had on kids.
We reviewed his book report and giggled that he chose Connor McDavid to research. He is truly a hockey kid at heart.
We discussed reading at length and how Sawyer still hasn't found his love for books. And how we can motivate him more.
And then his teacher said, 'That's enough about academics. I want to make sure you both understand that your son is an absolute pleasure to have in class. He is kind and inclusive. He cares about others and their feelings. And you should see how his eyes light up when he sees his older brother in the hallway. He beams with pride.'
And with that I smiled hugely and felt the tears gather in my eyes.
Reading, writing, and math are very important. Grades are important. No one would argue that they are not. But to me, as a mom, kindness is number one.
So much so that every morning when Sawyer leaves the house I pepper him in a dozen kisses all over his hair and tell him to be kind. I never miss a day. Not for the kisses or my instruction to be kind.
Some mornings I whisper it in his ear. Other mornings I yell it down the driveway.
I don't say it for show or likes. I say it because being kind is the most important thing to me.
Having a child with a disability changed many things in my life. And he opened my eyes to the world around me. He gave me the gift of sight. I see the good everywhere. And I see the evil.
We have a choice people. And I choose kindness in everything I do. My kids will be the same.
Yesterday, as Sawyer walked away he said...'Mom, don't forget to donate to that cancer foundation today...the one my school is sponsoring. It's important mom. Those kids need us.'
He's a keeper that one.
Related TODAY video from Kate Swenson: