We don't always get chances like this...

Something happened as I was on the way out the door to go to Kal's parent teacher conference, his eyes welled and he started sobbing. I know Kal doesn't like me to go away when it is a normal time for me to be home-I work full time and I know it is hard on him. But this sobbing when his grandmother would be with him was odd, really out of the ordinary. I could tell by the desperation in his voice and from his words that something was going on, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was.

I asked him, "Did you have a bad day?"

"Yes, worst day E V E R", he cried.

"What happened?" I asked.

"Everything," he moaned.

"Did you have a substitute?" I asked knowing this could throw him on the best of days.

"No," he replied.

"Did you fall at recess? Did you drop your lunch in the cafe? Did someone think you were taking the bus?" I drilled trying to think of all the things that really worry him.

"NO, NO and NO," he shouted.

I left and just became more confused when my husband and I met his teacher and she reported what a fabulous day he had. Hmmm, I pondered the possibilities to myself throughout the entire conference. I was trying to solve the mystery knowing that it is always best to be one step ahead of an anxious child.

When his father and I arrived back at home, we told Kal how proud we were of his work and more. "Your report card is stellar and your teacher says you are such a hard worker. We saw your desk and it is really cool! And best of all your teacher thinks you are so kind and considerate to everyone. She says that you always ask the kids who are looking for a playmate to play a game with you." we rattled off all the teacher had reported to us.

"Really?" he said stunned, "She really said all that about me?"

And then, like a ton of bricks landing on my heart, it hit me. This poor little boy was panicked that his teacher wasn't going to say good things about him. That is why he was so desperately trying to prevent me from meeting with his teacher! Wow. How could a seven year old have such little self esteem? He is the kindest, gentlest, sweetest, most considerate boy and everyone at school loves him and is constantly telling us this - all the time. Hmmm, telling US this. Maybe this is the problem. Maybe we aren't telling HIM this enough. Do we take the time to really tell him how much we care?? What a kind special soul he is? Do we go that extra mile to help him see his own strengths? Obviously not. I was crushed. I felt like a complete failure. All we do day in and day out for our children, but maybe we are overlooking the simple, the free, the one thing they are looking for and need more than anything else...our words of acknowledgement.

The next day, I was browsing some books at the book fair and I found this wonderful book. For You, Just Because You're Very Special to Me -thoughts to share with a wonderful person by Douglas Pagels. I have been reading it to Kal every night before bed and before his nightly book. Just me to him. It puts the biggest smile on his face and you can see his whole heart melt as I read. It is the best thing to come from the parent teacher conference and it is so simple, so easy to implement and so very rewarding for both of us. Here's the first reading:

Has Anyone Ever Told You This?

Has anyone ever told you what a wonderful person you are?

I hope so! I hope you've been told dozens of times...because you are just amazing.

And just in case you haven't heard those words in a while, I want you to hear them now.

You deserve to know that...

It takes someone special to do what you do. It takes someone rare and remarkable to make the lives of everyone around them nicer, brighter, and more beautiful. It takes someone who has a big heart and a caring soul. It takes someone who's living proof of how precious a person can be.

It takes someone...just like you.

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