Tag Archives: students

To My Daughter with Learning Differences

Update!!! So excited this  was also shared on Huffington Post! Click link to check it out!


This letter was written and submitted to The Mighty before I posted it here.  It is also posted on www.themighty.com with a few minor edits. I’m so grateful to my daughter for letting me share her story.  I pray it encourages others.  

Dear Daughter,

Thank you for being my child. I need you. Thank you for being you.

Although I never thought I’d say this, I’m grateful for the struggles we have had surrounding your ADHD and dyslexia and sensory issues. While I know for you, this has made school difficult, and it has made life challenging, I want to go on record and say that you have made me a better person.

I spent years wishing you were different. I didn’t want you to have to suffer. I have to admit it and we’ve talked about it before…it’s not easy to parent a child who is struggling. You become a mom who is struggling. You look at all the kids who are “thriving” and you wish they were your children. You start to resent the other moms. You close down and protect and build walls. I did all of that.

But you know what else I did? I fought for you. I fought with you. We stood together and reckoned with the future. Sometimes our fists were up and sometimes our hearts were open but we were in it. We were strong and courageous. Together.

I told you that you could do anything and you listened. You did it. High school graduation is upon us and you are headed to college.


natalie book

I think back to kindergarten and the teacher telling me that you didn’t quite understand the letters. In second grade when you were formally diagnosed with a learning disability, they kept saying, “She understands, she’s so smart, she just can’t decode the letters”. Or “She knows the material, she just can’t get it on paper”.

While often we were focusing on the decoding and the “treatment”, we tucked away the truth, “She’s so smart, she understands” in our hearts and we believed. I hope and pray that’s what you heard.

We had years of doctor appointments and therapy and meetings at school and tutoring and scary trips to the neurologist and so many questions. We fought for extra time on tests and notes written out. The paperwork alone takes up a whole room.

We were blessed with a school district that had resources and teachers who understood. Except for a few losers. Remember the one time we were so happy you got a D- we jumped up and down and cheered? Remember how I called your one teacher an “Asshole who doesn’t understand”? Well, I stand by that. Some people don’t get it. But because of you, I do get it. I am so grateful to be firmly planted on the side of understanding and compassion.

You can always be assured we’ve got your back.

Oh how I worried about you. I sought to understand you. I didn’t understand you. I cried and felt sorry for myself. My sense of entitlement was called into question. That one time when I was complaining to Dad and he said, “It’s not about you” was a moment of truth that changed the way I parent and live.

In an effort to get you what you needed, I called in the experts and I read the books and I prayed in a way that required surrender and trust. You gave me courage and you taught me to ask for help and you brought me closer to God.

You are heading off to college next fall and while I know I am not always a perfect mother, I can honestly say you are the perfect child for me.

I read a quote the other day that said, “Why do you keep trying to change the people God sent to change you?” This hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m sorry for trying to change you.

I think at times I might have justified my desire for you to change by explaining that it would just be easier for you if you were “like everybody else”.

I take it back.

Can I take it back?

You are a gift. You have changed me for good.

This is only the beginning. Now you get to go out and bless the world. I will be cheering you on forever. I’m thankful that I have been close enough to see you…God’s unique, beautiful creation…becoming.

So thank you daughter, for helping me become a better me.

And thank you God.

For knowing what I need and giving her to me.

I’m forever grateful.
©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

School starts today

School starts today.  In my house, it’s a mixture of excitement and apprehension.  It’s a great day and a tough day.  It’s a transition day. 

I feel like saying a prayer for all of the people that are transitioning today…

For the students who will walk to school on a tree lined street in an affluent suburb.  They will be with parents and friends and will have a new backpack and a new “back to school” outfit. 

For the students who will wait for a bus alone on a city street in an unsafe neighborhood.  They don’t know what to expect and they are afraid.

For the students who are growing and they feel awkward.  They don’t know where they fit in. 

For the children with learning disabilities who are nervous about the tests and the reading and the writing they will be required to complete this year.

For the children with special needs and their teachers and their aides and their parents.

For the students who are  “leaders” who may be facing tremendous social and academic pressures. 

For the teachers, who will nurture and teach all of these different students.  May they see unlimited possibilities for greatness in all children.  Help them to nurture that greatness even when they are tired and frustrated.

For the administrators and for the school nurses and the secretaries and the janitors and all of the people who make our schools work.  Give them a sense knowing they are valuable and appreciated. 

For the parents…Lord, please ease their worry and give them peace.  The peace of knowing that no child is alone, that you are watching over all of these kids.  That they are your precious children too.  That what they feel and what they learn and how they grow matters to you.  For the parents (can you tell I really need this one!?) -I humbly ask for your guidance and protection.

Help us nurture ENTHUSIASM in our children.  Help us be examples to them so they can look at this new school year (and at all new beginnings) as opportunities for growth and fun and success. 

If you can give your child only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.                   

                                                   -Bruce Barton