Monday, March 10, 2014

Breaking My Heart

"I just want him to fit in with the rest of the class," she said.

She broke my heart. 

Not because he didn't fit in. That wasn't new information for me. I have been his mother a long time. I was at the park and the story times when he was content to do his own thing. I watched him not being understood by his play group friends. I was in the meetings about speech and wondering if he was on the spectrum (he is not). I have watched my kid "not fit in" with the rest of the group. 

No, what broke my heart was the belief that he needed to fit in, that I had to remind this very caring teacher, that my son needs to be himself. He needs to be his brilliant, creative, quirky self. He needs to be kind and respectful of his teacher, his peers, and their learning environment. But he does not need to change who he is to fit in. 

I know she meant well. But all I saw was a classroom environment that prioritized group over self. A teacher that has possibly been sending my precious boy messages of needing to be like everyone else, needing to conform, to "fit in" with her words to him, her body language, and what she says to the whole class.

And that breaks my heart. 

My son is a wonderful boy. He is loving and caring. He just doesn't show it in the way you would expect. He is not effusive, he was never cuddly. He honestly is not very rewarding if you are looking for him to give you kudos and love to fill you up. 

If your relationship with him is about you, you will be disappointed. If it is about getting him to toe the line, fit in, be like everyone else, you will be aggravated. 

But if you, like so many people have, let him be who he is. If you are observant, engaging him where he is. If you move slowly and don't make any quick movements. If you smile and say hi but don't get your feelings hurt when he doesn't reciprocate. If you take the time to get to know him first before making demands of him…

Oh you will be rewarded. 

He will smile. He will give you a shy wave. He will sit next to you on the bench. He will lean into your body on the couch. He will say the words, "I love you." You will know him. 

My son does not need to fit in. Neither does any other child. 

The world is a big place and it needs all our kids to be who they are, to bring their talents and passions to the table, to fill the unique role they were designed to fill. 

So when the teacher said, "I just want him to fit in with the rest of the class," my reply was simple.

I want him to be him. 


  1. This is amazing. I know one mother who could especially use this encouragement when relating to her child and contending with teachers and other social settings about this very issue. Thank you for sharing and encouraging your son to just be him, because ultimately, God created him to be that way and who would argue with that?

  2. Very well said Jennifer! I'm going to keep this post handy and read it frequently. Thank you!

  3. I am sobbing. I needed to hear this today! I worry, I strive, I push (sinfully) for my kids to meet the "norm" or the average. It is all on me (supposedly) because we homeschool. I am so wrong. What if I am pushing them "out" of who God designed them to be, and "into" what the world says they should be? I have been near the brink of insanity over the last couple months because my kids are (gasp) average-if that-academically. I have hardly had the time to just enjoy them because I have been so busy trying to improve their performance. Thank you so much for this reminder. God has given me another well timed spanking through a treasured friendship. Miss you!!

  4. Thank you Jennifer. This is so good. ♡