In my last column, I wrote about my love letter to my son which was the parents' homework assigned by his fifth grade teacher at Liberty Ridge Elementary, Mrs. Lynda Caughron.
Mrs. Caughron has been a teacher for 23 years. More than 10 years ago while working on a project, she got the idea of asking parents to write a love letter to the students in her class.
She had so much positive experiences and feedback that she has kept doing it ever since.
"The love letter gives me the opportunity to learn more about my students early in the year through the eyes of the people who love them the most," Caughron said.
"It helps to create a special bond and connection between each student and me. It helps to establish a more personal relationship, because I know something special about each person.
"This in turn creates a safe environment for students to learn, to share and to grow."
Caughron can recall many times when she laughed and cried with her students.
"Kids grin from ear to ear when I read their parents' thoughts and compliments. It is always a memorable experience."
I was curious about the reactions from the students. I wanted to look into their minds and hearts and find out what they think of the love letter and how they feel about it.
Thanks to Caughron and her class, I was able to peek into their world and in the process learn a few valuable lessons on how to be a better parent.
Every child wants to feel special, happy, and loved.
Most kids say that the love letter makes them feel special, happy, and loved. I really like some of the expressions they used.
"When my parents wrote me that letter, it made me feel very warm inside. I felt so special. My mom and dad obviously care about me very much. The letter was dripping with compliments. It was an awesome letter. I love my parents so much, and I know they love me just the same."-- Danny Aboyan
"It made me feel so great. I can't describe it. I was all smile after Mrs. Caughron read the letter to me. I felt happy and fuzzy. It feels good to hear someone praise you. It reminded me that they love me and they always did and always will." -- Megan Ball
"The love letter ... made me feel so special. Like I was the only person on Earth that was loved. And hearing those words, 'We traveled half way around the world to adopt our wonderful daughter,' just made me feel invincible. And I was reminded how much they truly love me." -- Nichole Dopkins
"I felt special. I was quite touched. I felt a burst of happiness. I felt quite excited. It made me think of how much they care about me always. I might have been a bit embarrassed. My favorite part was when my mom said that I am a very special young man." -- Aaron Duebner
"I was feeling very teary. I just wanted to cry tears of joy." -- Allison Schneider
"When I started to read the letters, I started to go back in time. I held back tears, because I never knew how many good things my parents had to say about me." --Molly Hickey
"I felt happy reading the letter I almost thought I was going to cry." -- Dominik Ruzicka
"Wow! My parents really really really love me." -- Sam Phipps
Every child wants to be complimented, known, understood and valued by his parents.
Naturally, some feel nervous, anxious, even scared or frightened in the beginning because they didn't know what was in the envelope or what their parents said about them.
"As Mrs Caughron slowly opened my letter, I was frightened. I was anxious to see what lied sleeping waiting to be awaken. As I read this I had a smile across my face." -- Julie Abjean
"At the beginning, I was very scared. ... But then when I saw the letter, I cooled my jets and smiled. They wrote things that made me happy. At the end, ... I think wow, they do know me!" -- Erin Cheatham
"It felt good. I haven't had anyone ever compliment me like that." -- Shannon Calkins
Kids feel proud when they hear positive comments.
When parents tell others about the good things their kids have done or the things they are good at, it makes them proud.
"Proud because my brother considered me as his best friend." -- Kyle Walters
"I felt a little bit embarrassed but very happy about some of the achievements written in the letter. The letter also brought back some very happy memories." -- Grant Feuer
Don't be afraid to make your child do things.
Many parents let their kids make the decision and do what they want. I think it's OK to make kids do things they don't like to do, if you think they will benefit from that.
"I know my family loves me! I also know they will always love me! My mom made me start playing softball two years ago. I had lots of fun. She also made me start playing the trumpet. I'm glad she made me do softball and trumpet. I love my family!" -- Mackenzie Ryan
I wish I had space to include every student's response from Mrs. Caughron's class here. But even just these selected responses are enough to demonstrate why Caughron has used this idea for years and why it has been a huge success.
I hope during this holiday season, you will take some time to write a love letter to your child or someone you love. This is one of the most precious gifts you can give.
I am sure every receiver will treasure this kind of love letter.