Dear Jack: You were Chosen as the 1st “Student of the Month” by Your Kindergarten Teacher (Despite My Parenting Style)

5 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack: You were Chosen as the 1st “Student of the Month” by Your Kindergarten Teacher (Despite My Parenting Style)

Dear Jack,

Mommy and I are proud of you anyway, but last Thursday, you came home from school and told us that your teacher chose you are the 1st boy “Student of the Month”.

That means your teacher saw something quite special about you and the girl in your class who were picked; based on you diligently doing your school work, participating in class, and being a positive influence on your friends.

At just 3 weeks into the school year, you had set enough of an impression on your teacher as the stand-out boy in class. Seriously, that’s a big deal!

Selfishly for me, it’s a confirmation for me that despite my imperfections as a parent in raising you, you’re still an intelligent, involved, and well-behaved little boy.

I have to admit that as your parent, you are technically a human experiment to me. You’re my first born. I will by default make more mistakes on you than your baby sister, who is nearly 5 and a half years younger.

Dear Jack: You were Chosen as the 1st “Student of the Month” by Your Kindergarten Teacher (Despite My Parenting Style)

When you were born, I was a much less experienced 29 year-old guy. Now, I’m a 35 year-old dad who has much more confidence as a parent.

It’s so important to me as your dad that I mold you into a well-balanced boy, and ultimately, a well-balanced young man.

Dear Jack: You were Chosen as the 1st “Student of the Month” by Your Kindergarten Teacher (Despite My Parenting Style)

This past weekend your Papa, Uncle Andrew, and I spent two mornings putting together the new trampoline Nonna bought for you and your Cousin Calla when you visit.

Finally, the time had come to try it out.

You and I played rough for a solid 20 minutes or so before I finally wore you out. I caused “earthquakes” (by jumping hard right next to where you were standing), I wrestled you, and I let you ride me like a bull.

That’s how I like to raise you. I like to show you unexpected adventure. I want you to be wild and crazy. I want you to be dangerous with me, yet hopefully not get injured too badly in the process. I want you to be… a boy.

And then I want you to return to school the next day and convince your teacher that you are still the best behaved and most involved boy in class.

So far, my plan is working.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: You Started Kindergarten This Week, Exactly 30 Years after I Did

5 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack: You Started Kindergarten This Week, Exactly 30 Years after I Did

Dear Jack,

Exactly three decades ago in August 1986, I began Kindergarten back at Forest Avenue Elementary in Fort Payne, Alabama. I remember how much I cried, begging your Nana (my Mommy) not to leave me there.

She said, “Oh look, it’s Heath Owen. He’s the son of lead singer of Alabama (the Country music group).”

Somehow that distraction helped ease the chaos in my mind. After all, “Roll On Eighteen Wheeler” was, by default, by favorite song around that time.

I will quickly acknowledge that your first day and first week of Kindergarten have been nothing like that. Instead, you have been literally and figuratively hopping to go to school.

You love it!

Granted, you have been in daycare, and then preschool, since you were 7 months old; which was 5 years ago.

So for the past 5 years of your life, it has been completely normal to spend most weekdays with a teacher and other students.

Simply put, you were more than ready to start Kindergarten this week. I know you’re going to have a very exciting year!

It just so happened that your first day of Kindergarten was also your sister Holly’s first day at daycare.

She’s only half the age you were when you started going to preschool. There’s no doubt it’s a heavy psychological thing for a parent to drop off their baby all day, for the first time. It’s just not easy.

But I know in the end, I will see the positive benefits that come from growing up in day care and preschool.

I just look at you. You are so bright, so creative, so eager to learn, so energetic, and yet so behaved for your teachers.

So as tough as it is to see Holly go to daycare this week, I know that you turned out just fine… and are going to make the best Kindergartner I know!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Started Kindergarten This Week, Exactly 30 Years after I Did

Dear Jack: Your Self-Assigned Lego Homework Project

4 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack: Your Self-Assigned Lego Homework Project

Dear Jack,

A week from today will be your last day at your preschool, with the big move into our new house being next weekend.

At night during dinner, all this week, you’ve been working on a special Lego plane. You instructed me to build something too, so I did.

Well, this morning you asked me to find a bag to put your plane in: The time had finally come to reveal your new creation to your friends and teachers at school.

So I found a Kroger bag and placed your plane inside it; keeping it up front with me in the car for the drive.

Once we arrived in your class room, you whispered to me, “Daddy, the plane.”

So I pulled the plane out and handed it to you.

Immediately, your friends ran over, crowding around you. They were sincerely and thoroughly impressed with your work.

“Wow, Jack! Is that Michelangelo in there driving it?” your friend Joshua asked.

Keep in mind, just a few weeks ago, you built that Lego hospital at school that all your friends protected.

I struggled to snap a few pictures of the event today, as it was truly a challenge for me to get a shot of you holding the plane without one of your friends blocking my view.

In the midst of all the I wanna see!’s from your friends, I realized that most them are a year older than you. They are 5; you are 4.

Witnessing this today made me sort of feel like the dad of Doogie Howser or something.

Even now, I’m thinking, “Man, my son diligently worked on a Lego plane that impressed his older friends. He must be a Lego prodigy… That’s pretty cool!”

Ultimately, this is one of those “dad moments” for me. I am proud of you, Son.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Primrose Vs. Rainbow- Finding A Preschool Near Our New House

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: Primrose Vs. Rainbow- Finding A School Near Our New House

Dear Jack,

There are certain assumptions that might arise, with our upcoming move into our new house on January 29th. (That’s the official close date, still Lord willin’.)

One common assumption that people have been asking me is if there will finally be a possibilty of open-mindedness on your parents’ part for our family expanding. To be clear, I’m not hinting any sort of announcement; I am simply saying it wasn’t an option before now.

Dear Jack: Primrose Vs. Rainbow- Finding A School Near Our New House

Who knows? Maybe with a new house in a new city with a new lifestyle for our family, there may be room for… that possibility.

Or maybe I’ll never mention it again.

Another assumption is that we’ll be sending you to a new school, just around the corner from our new house. That would save you from having to be in the car with me a total of 2 hours every day.

Instead, it would be more like 2 minutes.

Dear Jack: Primrose Vs. Rainbow- Finding A School Near Our New House

Not only is that better for your safety, but it’s better for quality time with Mommy.

Here’s why: Where you go to school right now is right next to where I work. But with us moving at least 15 miles south of where I work now (and about 35 miles south of where Mommy works) it’s not really a benefit anymore that your current school is near where I work.

Not to mention, with the move, Mommy’s schedule will be altered to where she can go in to work early and leave work early, meaning that you and Mommy will be able to spend a decent amount of extra quality time together soon, on a regulary basis.

And that’s so important! For that reason alone, it’s worth it to find you a new preschool. Again, there’s nothing at all wrong with your current school, but moving you to one closer to our new home so you can be in the car less and with Mommy more…. those aspects are more important to our family.

There are 3 really nice schools near our new home. We liked Spring Hill Academy, a Christian place, but they don’t have any openings for you right now.

Dear Jack: Primrose Vs. Rainbow- Finding A School Near Our New House

So now with that one easily eliminated, that leaves us with two main contenders: Primrose Schools and Rainbow Child Care Center.

We drove up to the parking lots of both of them this weekend while reviewing the 2015 Hyundai Sonatajust to get an idea of the drive time from our new home.

Mommy is taking you to visit them both this week, during open business hours. I wonder where you’ll end up. They’re both wonderful schools, from everything Mommy and I have researched.

Of course, whichever school wins your tuition also wins reoccuring free publicity here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, as the new school will serve as part of the setting for our family’s narrative.

Just this week, I wrote both Dear Jack: The Glory Of Classic American Holiday Sweaters and Dear Jack: The Lego Hospital You Built At Your School; both of which took place at your current school.

Dear Jack: Primrose Vs. Rainbow- Finding A School Near Our New House

Where we send you to school is a big deal to us. In fact, much of the incentive to move out of our townhouse was to get into a better county where we could get you into a better school.

When you live in Nashville, it matters to your education and future based on where you go to school; unlike where the small town where I grew up; where there was just one school.

Love,

Daddy

Catch up on the entire series of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Weekend. A lot of exiciting things happened!

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T: Family Friendly Review

Dear Jack: Our New House Now Has Electricity & Tile (2015 Hyundai Sonata Weekend)

Dear Jack: Primrose Vs. Rainbow- Finding A Preschool Near Our New House

Dear Jack: Listening to Radio Hanukkah (SiriusXM Channel 68)

Dear Jack: Practicing For Your 4th Birthday

3 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: Practicing For Your 4th Birthday

Dear Jack,

Today was “Mismatch Day” at school, so you and I decided to take some fall pictures real quick in front of your school, while you wore your Ninja Turtle pajama pants.

Once we got inside, we saw your friend Madison. She had prepared a drawing for you along with a set of fish stickers, which you immediately implemented into artwork once we got home.

She’s the one who you were worried that she will get you a girl’s birthday present next week for your party. Based on the fact her Daddy replied with, “Jack, I hope you like Ninja Turtles,” I’d say you have nothing to worry about.

Dear Jack: Practicing For Your 4th Birthday

We were so pleasantly surprised by Madison’s kindness that I had reached the front door to leave, while holding you, when you looked at me confused, saying, “Daddy?”

Today made the first time I’ve ever forgot to actually leave you at school while dropping you off there. Had it not been for you bringing it to my attention, there’s a good chance I would have starting driving to work before I realized I never actually dropped you off at school, though we had both just walked in.

4th birthday

Times are good. I am loving the anticipation leading up to your 4th birthday party next weekend!

Last night Mommy even brought you home a cupcake to eat after dinner, to help you practice eating fun treats like we’ll have at your party.

I think we’re going to have a lot of fun next weekend; and not just you, but truly our whole family.

Not only am I excited for you, but I’m excited with you. I feel like I’m actually equally as excited as you are!

Your party is going to be a blast… given none of your girl friends give your girly gifts!

Assigned Seats: Many Friendships We Have are “Forced”

It’s a little something I call “forced friendship”.

It was always a bittersweet moment when as an elementary school student, I would walk into the classroom Monday morning and realize that my desk was on the other side of the room.  I would now be sitting next to other kids that I hadn’t necessarily been around much before.  This also meant I would no longer be sitting close to the friends I had made while at my previously assigned seat.

Boy, this is just a life metaphor waiting to happen.  Don’t beat me to the punch…

Do we choose our friends?  Yes.  But so often, by default.  Whether because of proximity through work, school, church, current circles of friends, or even marrying into a family, we find ourselves in what I call “forced friendships”.

And I don’t say that like it’s a bad thing.  It’s good.

I use the word “forced” because the reality of friendship is that we don’t usually go out to places looking for friends.  Friends just happen.  We end up in the same place at the same place, often on a reoccurring basis.  And in each location, the people that have the most in common or whose personalities compliment each other the most, are naturally going to become friends.

It’s not typical for one person to walk up to another person that they barely know and say, “Let’s be friends.”  Because it’s much more natural to let the Assigned Seats of Destiny direct us in our human relationships.

The concept of forced friendship became apparent to me in 2008, the year that my sister got married in January, and I in July, just six months apart.  In the same year, I gained a brother-in-law (my sister’s husband) on one side of the family, then seven brothers-in-law (my wife’s brothers) and two sisters-in-law (my wife’s sisters).  Before 2008, I had no in-laws at all.  In a matter of six months, I acquired plenty of them.

And through that process, the ones I have spent the most time with became the ones I obviously know the best, and therefore, have the strongest friendships with.  We are family by marriage, but that doesn’t take away at all the friendship aspect of it.

Each one brings out different sides of my personality, hobbies, and interests.  As we reflect our similarities and common ties.

For example, my sister’s husband Andrew and I are just a few years apart, having grown up playing the same old school Nintendo games, both having grown up in Alabama, and both obsessed with LOST.  In fact, he’s the reason my sister started watching LOST, which is why I am now obsessed.  Throughout the week, we send each other stupid website links and YouTube videos.  The perfect combination of a brother and a good friend.

On the other end of the brother-in-law spectrum, there is Tom up in Pennsylvania, who is the husband of my wife’s 2nd oldest sister.  We only see each other about twice a year and there is about a 10 year age difference between us.  In fact, he and my wife’s sister got married when I was in Junior High and they had their first kid the year I graduated high school.

Yet we have a whole lot in common.  When our wives are together, we let them catch up.  And we just do our own thing.  Whether it’s playing cards, shooting pool, watching movies, or playing with the kids.  We live the laid-back life together.

Being around him is like that seeing my life ten years into the future.  What little recent experience I have being around kids is from his two daughters.  I watch carefully how he talks and interacts with them.  His calm-assertiveness gives them the direction they need while still keeping the environment positive and loving.

Having the ability to choose isn’t everything.  Sometimes it’s better for someone or something else to make our decisions and life plans for us.  The funny thing is, the friendships I have sought out after never seem to last, like a trend or a fad.  If anything, those friendships are the ones that actually ended up feeling forced.

Whereas the forced friendships have always seemed natural.  So there we have it, friendship is a force.  And with all there is to gain from forced friendships, I can’t help but be thankful for assigned seats.

Similar post from the same author: The Invisible Touch, Yeah (The 2nd Installment)