Each week in my son’s first grade class someone is celebrated as the “star student.” With the spotlight squarely on one student, the class learns all about the interests of one of their friends. The star student makes an “all about me” poster and shares all of his/her vital stats. And, of course, they are afforded certain perks throughout the week, especially the all-important position: line leader.
Last week, was my little boy’s turn. Paul was pumped. He loves his class….he loves school….he loves being with people. Total extrovert. So, he reveled in the attention, to say the least.
My favorite part of the week? Hand written letters. Each class member writes a letter to the star student to congratulate, celebrate, and relate. The letters Paul received warmed my heart, but honestly, I spent more time giggling at the random remarks and eyebrow raising compliments. Here are a few of the letters (typed just as they were written):
“Dear Paul, Congratulations on being star student this week. I like how you uprishat (appreciate) me. You are a very good friend to me. I have blondish brownish hair to. Why do you like tigers? Your friend, Alexis”
“Dear Paul, you look like spoprman (superman. note: Paul was wearing an Alabama football jersey on this day. Super hero, for sure.) I like your head rideeg (hand writing). From Bayleigh”
“Dear Paul, Paul you did a rely good job on your star student postere. I did not no you like blue to. I like blue. paul you are rily funny and silly to. You are a good friend to me. You friend, Alissa.”
“Dear Paul, Your aer smart. You aer nis (nice). You aer cool. I like poptorts to. I like spi stuff to. Do you like trtles (turtles)? From Justin.”
“Paul L. I like your desck. Paul L. I like your hair. I like blue to. I like you eise (eyes). I like anmiles (animals) to. Do you have a pet dog? Do you have a pet trtle (turtle)? Love, Mary Kate” (note: I’m keeping an eye on this flirty little girl. 😉 )
“Dear Paul, Paul you are funny and you are cool and kind. I did not no you like tigrs. I did not no you like poptarts. I dow now. You are a smart boy. Youare a good boy. You are kind to everyboty. Your friend Grace.”
“Dear Paul, You aer nise. I like your shirts (again, the Alabama jersey scored points). You are cool. I like football too. We sud play outside sumtime. I like video games too. Your friend, Madison.”
“Dear Pall, You rok Pall. So mushe. So so mushe. I love you. I love your shirt. I love your shos (shoes). You ror cool. Love Sam”
“Dear Paul, Why do you like football? Why do you like blue? I like blue too. I like to play football to. I like you becase you make me laugh. I like you because you are nic to me. Your friend, Logan.”
“Dear Paul You are awesome. You are so much fantastic. You are cool. I like football to. I like tigrs too. Dow (do) you like red. I like it. Why are you so funny? Yore friend, Kirkland.”
“Dear Paul Congratulations Paul! YOu are awesome and cool! Did you knowe I like blue to? Well I do. Did you knowe I like red to? Well I do. Do you like appals? Do you like all the culrs of the rainbow? Love Nikki”
Ok, so what can we learn from these letters – other than spell check is a good thing?
Encouragement. Words of praise. Relatability.
Paul must have read these letter 5-6 times last week. His face would light up with a smile, or he would chuckle to himself. He felt loved, valued, popular, and special. Those aren’t his words, but they are true nonetheless.
Let’s take a lesson from these first graders: intentionally compliment someone this week. Tell someone how they bring a smile to your face. Let someone else know how much you appreciate who they are and what they do. Find a way to relate to the people around you….find some common ground. It’s the best way to lay a foundation for a healthy relationship.
That’s a lesson we could ALL learn from!