Dear Sloan,

I want to thank you for what you do. 

The staff and culture of friendliness, empathy, knowledge, and kindness are greatly admired and appreciated. We are forever a fan. You are saving lives from the greatest enemy of mankind. But with that your influence grows larger as in saving these lives, you save families, you save communities, you save hearts. 

And it’s no cakewalk. 

Oh no.

There is no cake involved at all actually.

You like that freaking clock tic every day to the beat of beeps, cries, and alarms. You everyday bear witness to a reality that others luckily can’t fathom. You see innocent children trapped by their bodies, which is anything but natural. If anything children are born to defy their bodies. Just look at any 3 three year old. They seem to defy gravity! 

But in your job you see the dark hidden side of some childhoods. You see sick children every day. There is not a day that goes by that you can pretend it away. We have weeks off recently and I can “pretend,” I can push it all to the back of my head, but this is your livelihood and you CHOOSE it. People always told me that I’m a saint for being a teacher. NOPE. You. You the saint. 

Saints do this work. 

Only saints could survive this work AND you deal with US, the parents.

I thought I had it bad. I really did. I dealt with parents too.  I dealt with some crazy moments. Like when a dad told me this: “My Jimmy’s a math genius but we just had him tested and the results were average.  That teacher has made my child stupid. I want him removed from this class.”  Or “Sally doesn’t like sitting next to Phil because he kicks her under the table so we are going to take Phil to juvenile court.” When I asked Sally’s mom, if Sally told a teacher or told the boy to stop (who is a second grader!), she looked at me in dismay. “No. Sally is shy and what does that matter? Are you blaming the victim?!”

Those may seem exaggerated because they are ridiculous, but I promise they are not. They are very real. This is a real parent. This is how CRAZY we are. Sure there is a spectrum to crazy like with everything, but all parents are crazy.

It comes with the job of parenting. Still like hunters and gathers we are ready to attack for survival, it is only the terms of “survival” that have changed. Now for your child to survive they have to be the “best.” Best on the football fields and the spelling test. We have entered some race for success as if our success is only graded by our children.

But add life and death to that spelling test and crazy flags will fly. FLY them we will.

I know Steve and I have had a few moments. I’m not for a minute pretending I’m better than the next parent. 

So we flip. 

We scream. 

We ask the same question in seven different ways.  We doubt you. We doubt ourselves. We doubt the world really.

We also compare our children hoping our child will come out top. Like in school, there will always be someone at the bottom of the class. But the outcome is way different. This is a race of life.

So Sloan. I appreciate you. I get you and respect you. 

And I hope this note inspires others to thank you for your service. Thank you for being a saint or inspires another parent to rethink some crisis in their mind and rethink how they behave. Maybe thank a teacher or pause before you show your crazy flag.

Hate the game not the player.

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