A Letter To First-Grade Boys

Dear Sirs:

I regret to inform you that being a boy in first-grade is a miserable experience.

One must sit still, one must not talk, one must fill in reams of worksheets, one must pretend to be excited about getting a STICKER! as a reward.

It is a truth universally known that stickers are for girls.

But target practice with air-guns at recess? Now, that would be a reward.

But of course, guns are COMPLETELY unacceptable. Sirs, even your hands are offensive. You must never use your index finger and thumb, point at someone and say "bang!"

Bang, sirs, scares the girls. We must never scare the girls.

Recess, sadly, is revocable. If you do not sit still for 2 hours, you may have to sit during recess as well. Recess, dear boys, is your only reprieve. Guard it with your life. Fill in those worksheets, sit still, pretend to be excited about stickers. Recess is worth it.

Be mindful, however, that as first-grade boys you are the smallest boys on the playground. Therefore, avoid 3rd grade boys. 3rd grade boys enjoy scaring first-grade boys. If you dare report bullies to the playground monitor, she will most likely say, "Oh, it was an accident."

Yes, sirs, the injustices are many. The triumphs are few.

Your only choice is to hunker down and slog through. They may call you names like ADD or ADHD. Ignore the hecklers, sirs. They simply don’t understand.

There’s nothing wrong with you.

Except, of course, that you’re a boy. And school is for girls.

Fret not. A few of us understand. Ever heard of Tom Sawyer? Ask your mother to read his book to you.


A Concerned Citizen

  • http://www.monkswife.blogspot.com Michelle

    How uncanny, my now 16 yo son got that very same letter when he was a first grader! LOL! Except his also said, “one must not climb the bathroom stalls pretending to be Spiderman!”
    You’re too funny! :)

  • Cathy


    I mentioned this book to Amy of “Humblemusings” and she said that she had already ordered one for her son’s Christmas present. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden is a wonderful book that is selling out simply because it hearkens back to a time when boys could be boys. Sadly, behavior that allows boys to live up to the words in the old expression, “Boys will be boys” is frowned on in our PC culture. Anyway, the book isn’t a Christian one, but it is certainly worth the money. Chekc out the reviews on Amazon.


  • Cathy

    Sorry, that should have read “check.” I didn’t realize that I posted my comment twice…it’s really NOT because I thought what I said was so profound. Sigh…

  • http://www.heidijowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.com Heidi Jo

    obviously you saw my thoughts on this subject yesterday…

    this is very clever, true, and sad in some ways! boys were created to be full of energy, attacking their projects with ferocity and vigor. we (meaning mom’s like yourself and i) do not want the school plucking that feroicity and vigor from our sons. God put it there…for a purpose. don’t pluck it teachers, please…just prune it!

  • http://anothermomonthego.blogspot.com Just Mom

    A perfectly written post about a subject that’s been on my mind a lot.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • http://www.elizabethesther.typepad.com Elizabeth

    Cathy: sometimes Typepad double posts comments. It’s not your fault! I can delete double posted comments, so no worries. And yes, I saw that book at Barnes & Noble. I think I know a little boy who might thrill to it this CHristmas, too.

  • http://www.elizabethesther.typepad.com Elizabeth

    michelle: oh, that’s a good one! i forgot all about the bathroom antics little boys get involved in at this age. “sword fights” anyone? ha ha.

  • http://www.itsawonderfulwonderfulworld.blogspot.com Chelle

    As a fellow mother of a first grader, this ‘letter’ resonates. So true, especially the ‘stickers are for girls’ part and guarding recess with your life! He lost one for sticking his finger in a girl’s ear (???) when he was mad at her…. he was absolutely devastated. He’s kept his fingers out of everyone’s ears since that one painful experience of missing his precious recess.

  • http://heartsforfamily.blogspot.com Kelly-Word Warrior

    Another reason to homeschool, anyone?

  • http://bunny-trails.blogspot.com Dianne

    When my younger son was in 1st grade, the teacher told me (prior to Thanksgiving) that we should anticipate sending him to 1st grade again next year. Because every week she had to “speak with me” since he wouldn’t sit still, wouldn’t focus, poked his neighbors with his pencil, etc. She had already deemed him to have failed 1st grade a couple weeks into the second semester!! Ironically, he’s one of those kids who appears oblivious, but he’s taking in EVERYthing. He has an amazing memory and hears more than you think he does. He just doesn’t LOOK like he’s listening.

    Thanks for the post. :)

  • Ginny Berry

    I am a first grade teacher. I have taught first grade for 13 years. I understand very well that this is true about little boys. They were not meant to sit still, and some have great difficulty with it and most be coached. First grade is not what it was when we were kids. First grade is accelerated, and almost what we learned in second grade. This kiddos are expected to do a lot. Some of them are ready, some are not. First grade teachers need to develop a bag of tricks to keep the kids happy and learning at the same time. Things like “aerobic spelling,” where the children are up and clapping, snapping, and learning the spelling words through movement. We also have to have frequent changes of activities. After all, I would’t want a child to be turned off to education. Yes.

    They start first grade the first thing that they notice is that it is much looonnnngger. No going home after three hours. Is it over yet? And you must stop playing at recess when the bell rings and freeze. Yes. You must.. freeze. Until the whistle blows. And then you must walk to your line and stand quietly until the teacher gets there. Yes. No bouncing balls, getting drinks, remembering that you need to go to the bathroom then. No. You must stand quietly, and not bother others. Just calm down because plaything is over and it is time to go back to learning. In the classroom. Learning what the teacher is told to teach you. Learning also things that she is able to sneak into the curriculum.

    First grade boys have a big job.

  • Ginny Berry

    P.S. I always try to have stickers that are of high interest for boys. I’ve found that most boys like stickers too, because they’ve earned them.

    I also reward my class with extra recess time at the end of the week on Fridays… a great motivator.

    And to the parent who had a teacher say early in the year that her child would need to repeat first grade…. I’d never give up on a child that early in the year. Never. Children in first grade grow so much during the first grade year. Possibly that teacher wanted to give you a “heads up” that your child was having problems. It is hard to impart bad news to parents.