“Mommy (he still calls me mommy… dreading the day I become “Mom.”), are you disappointed in me?”

Thing 2 came home saying that he had had a “really bad day.”

“What made it bad?” I asked.

“I didn’t turn in two pieces of homework and I got locked out of my gym clothes.”

OOOOOOkay…. You see we began this year with meetings with all of his teachers over what we could do to get my absent minded professor organized. We devised organizational strategies to fix where things fell through the cracks in previous years. We vowed to make sure we stayed on top of everything so that grades would not reflect his inability to remember where his homework was but the quality of performance on the actual content of the

This school year, at least the first six weeks of it, has surpassed the other six years by far. Homework has been turned in. There have not been tests that have blank answers on them because he “forgot to go back and do that one.” He is learning that he and his teachers are a team. His attitude before and after school, with the exception of the days that he hasn’t eaten enough during the day, has been stellar. Yes, there has been a slip up or two, but none that cannot be rectified or that is so vile that it would cause his mother to be “disappointed in him.”

So after reading an article in the blogosphere to a daughter about the five words she should hear, I felt the urge to come up with some things that my son should hear. (Why, oh why, do we think that our male children do not need to hear these things? Why do we write those articles for the girls and rarely for the boys?)

1. I will never be disappointed in YOU. I may be disappointed in something that you have done, but you will NEVER be a disappointment to me.

2. My favorite motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, taught me and I will pass it to YOU… “Failure is an EVENT not a person.” Just because you screwed up this time does not make YOU a screw up. Learn from your mistake. “Yesterday really did end last night. Today is a brand new day, and it’s yours.”

3. We ALL mess up. In more of the words of Zig, “If someone tells you they don’t, they will lie about other things, too.”

4. You are not your work. You are you with infinite worth and your work is what you do. You are no less important without your work.

5. You are enough. There is nothing you can do to make me love you more and there is absolutely nothing that can make me love you less. You are enough… actually more than enough because my love for you knows no bounds.

Sometimes I know my own fear for my childrens’ futures messes up their presents. I kicked myself all night after that conversation because I want my child to know what I have listed in this post. I don’t want him to ever feel like something he tells me is going to make him any less in my eyes and heart.

Actually, want everyone to know what I have listed in this post. You have worth because you are you. Sure you make mistakes, but that does not make you who you are… unless you are my husband and he breaks things… that is what he does and who he is… Juuuuuust kidding. (Comic relief… I was getting teary.)

I pray that I can become more gentle with my children about their present so that when they get to their future they don’t get beaten down. I think about a lot of engineering students at NCSU when I was there that got beaten down for the first time when they hit their major classes… they didn’t know the truths of who they were and what they were worth. They thought a 30% on a test (which was often an average) was a character flaw rather than a grade. It was a just a grade and, although that grade may have influenced that first job they got, it held no influence over who they were as a person or what their worth was to the world unless they let it.

So my sweet boys, know that there is nothing you can do to change what you are worth to me… other than learning how to cook and clean… those things might add a bit to your already infinite worth. Don’t beat yourself up. You are not your grades or your percentage of turned in homework. And, though I am sure that at some point in your lifetime you are going to do something stupid that is disappointing… it will be what you did and not who you are that is a disappointment.

By the way, I still don’t know what it means to be “locked out of my gym clothes.”