His lunch is carefully packed, and his backpack loaded with brand-new supplies. The apprehensive smile on his youthful face only slightly masks the anxiety that I know he is feeling.

I kiss my boy goodbye and watch him walk into your classroom. Slowly, he searches for his name above the hook. He is walking into your world now—your rules, your goals, the I pray that you’ll see through his anxious smile experiences that you’ve so carefully prepared for him.

And I quietly pray that you’ll see through his anxious smile, that you’ll see beyond his tidy supplies. He is just a 5-year-old boy, full of questions, bursting with ideas. He is a mommy’s boy, who needs snuggles in bed and kisses on his boo-boos. Yes, he is brave and bright, and looks tough when he’s trying to win an argument, but he is only 5, barely out of preschool, and loves to play with blocks and knock down towers. He sometimes needs help getting dressed in the morning, and needs his dinner cut into pieces each evening.

I hope you see him for what he is—a sensitive little boy who’s yearning for your love and approval. I hope you appreciate his innocence and eagerness, and his ability to ask a million questions. I hope you sense his anxiety and calm his fears. Most of all, I pray that the time in your classroom serves to build him (and not break him), to boost his confidence and not deflate him. I hope he learns to love you and loves to learn, and that he builds meaningful friendships and works to be a loyal friend in return.

I don’t worry much about the reading and writing, the science and math. He’s a curious boy, and he’ll pick all that up eventually. I worry more about the kind of person he’ll become and the experiences he’ll pick up along the way. I worry about the friends he will make, and the feelings that occasionally will be hurt.

When I recite the Shema with my children each evening, I try to focus on the verse that proclaims our commitment to educating children. Rashi’s commentary (Deuteronomy 6:7) explains that students are often referred to as “children” in the Torah’s lingo, because a teacher is comparable to a parent. Today, I am experiencing that comparison.

Please, as you conduct your perfectly planned lessons, hold my little guy’s hand,I hope you appreciate his innocence and eagerness listen to his ideas, and take the time to answer his questions and understand his thoughts. He is just a 5-year-old boy, and from now on, you’ll be seeing him more than I do each day. You’re his new mommy figure; I’m entrusting him to your care. Help me shape him into the kind of person I hope he’ll become—we’re partners in this now.

As I watch my little guy settle down in his seat, I dry my tears and try to smile. It’s my boy’s first day of kindergarten, and I pray that he’s in good hands.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I wish us all success.


Meir’s Mom