What I Learned from My First Homework Assignment in 16 Years

A Letter to My Middle-schooler's Teacher

I got home from work a couple of weeks ago, and my wife informed me as I walked through the door that I had a homework assignment.




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My oldest son is in middle school. One of his teachers sent home an assignment called “In a Million Words or Less…” The idea was for us – as parents – to tell the teacher what she needs to know about our son.

The premise of this assignment was heartwarming. She explained that she simply does not get to know every student like she would like – especially the introverted ones. She wants to be able to tailor her teaching to the student (she calls them scholars).

I very much appreciate that!

My wife also shared with me that I was going to get to do this as the “writer” in our marriage. (My wife could be an incredible writer if she wanted to be, by the way.)

So I sat down to write the following letter. Before I share it with you, I want to challenge you to do a couple of things:

  1. Become a student of your child(ren) – I have 3 children and they are completely different. I don’t want to parent them the same. I want to understand them and get on their level. I want to know how best to communicate with them. I want to relate to them on their level.
  2. Understand a little about personalities – Luckily (or providentially), my sister is a Meyers-Briggs consultant with her own business. She’s incredible. And she has taught me a bit about personalities. This has opened up to me a world of possibilities in parenting my kids. As a result of this knowledge, I think I will be able to avoid some mistakes that would have led to some scar tissue on their hearts.
  3. Support their teachers – You don’t have perfect kids. I don’t have perfect kids. Your children’s teachers have a very difficult job. They are overworked and underpaid. They don’t need crazy parents blaming them for everything their children do wrong. That doesn’t help the teachers. It certainly doesn’t help your children.

So here is the letter I wrote. I encourage you to do the same. It will literally help the teachers give your children a better education.

Ms. Ogden,

My son is one of my favorite subjects. I am happy to tell you all about him.

The most important thing is he is a follower of Jesus.

If you are familiar with Meyers-Briggs, Will is an ISFJ. You will likely notice he is somewhat introverted. He has a very tight circle of friends with deep relationships. He’s orderly. You would be impressed if you ever looked at his sock drawer or his closet.

He thrives on routine, and is very competitive. He doesn’t crave attention, but he does want to be the player at the free throw line with the game on the line.

He processes information by filtering everything through the grid of his memories and experiences. It is as if he has a filing cabinet in his mind with all his memories. When he is in a situation, he will pull out a file from his past to help him understand what is going on and predict what he can expect to happen next. When he has a bad experience, it can cause him to be very cautious the next time around.

He is able to recall information in vivid detail. I think this helps him excel in his schoolwork.

Speaking of schoolwork, Will cares. He wants to do well. He wants to please his teachers and us. I would not expect you to have any issues with his effort in class or his performance.

Will loves basketball – all sports really. He is very good baseball player as well. Team sports are a comfort zone for him. He likes to have a close group all pulling towards a common goal, and he likes to be coached. In the afternoons, Will can be found in the driveway playing basketball or playing the PlayStation.

Will has a heart for kids and animals. He loves to play with his younger cousins and the neighborhood kids. He is somewhat like the big brother of the street. He volunteers with his mother in the nursery at church, and is a good babysitter for us.

Will is our oldest child, and he has two siblings – Ben who is 9 and Maddie who is 6.

His mother and I are very proud of Will and the young man he is maturing into. I see greatness in him. I want to do everything I can to help him reach his potential without being the overbearing dad. My greatest desire for Will is that he knows he is loved regardless of his performance – just because he is our son.

Please feel free to contact my wife or me if you ever have any concerns regarding Will. We recognize you have a challenging job and that our son is by no means perfect.

Thank you for the homework assignment!

My best,
Bo and Autumn Barron

A favor: Much of what I write has a very limited and specific audience. That is not the case with today’s post. Would you do me the favor of sharing this with someone with children. You can email it, share on Facebook or Twitter…I would be so grateful. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Mike Nelson

    Hi Bo,
    Great letter Bo. I like the way you started out your letter. “The most important thing is he is a follower of Jesus.” Love it! Thank you for your inspirational letter.

  • Meredith n’John Jarboe

    Awesome letter, Bo! My heart smiles after reading this knowing there are parents out in the world that want the best for their children. As a teacher, I love teaching and seeing relationships grow between parents, teachers and students.

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