The boy

Is there anything more pleasant than skimming knees and stones with your best buddy when you’re a young boy?

There’s a boy like this in every class: noisy, unafraid and full of life.

But somewhere along the line, he was too full of life —

Leading to problems at school, and visits to doctors

And then, a diagnosis with four letters.

Somehow, that label stuck with him, and although he’s only 11,

People whisper about his tantrums, violent outbursts and shake their heads.

I know this boy. He’s the one who walked up to school with me the other day,

The one bursting with love and wonder and tenderness

At the birth of his baby sister.

He spent 20 minutes describing how wonderful she is.

Yes – there’s a boy like this in every class.

Which leads me to wonder if the only labels kids really need are the four letters: L O V E.

For more stories, please visit: Camera Critters.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to Jillsy’s May Challenge, which is about childhood. Why not join in?

69 thoughts on “The boy

  1. That’s a fantastic pair of photos, a great depiction of one of the joys of childhood.

    Maybe those children just need a little more attention paid to them, and a little more time spent with them…


  2. This was very thoughtful! Having worked with these ‘four-letter’ kids for 20 years, I learned very quickly that they ALL responded to LOVE very well.
    Your photos captured their essence so well….I am impressed!


  3. Absolutely, ladyfi. My boy was always described as the “class character” which seemed to be teacher speak back then for what you so eloquently describe. All you need IS love. And a trusty dog by your side 🙂


  4. I’ve worked with gr. 8 boys, where it was too late for love. I’m talking sexually explicit language, and undiagnosed emotional issues.

    I found that love with discipline works best. For if we loved them, we would show that love by giving them limits, behavioural expectations, and boundaries. Sometimes, it means keeping them out of trouble, anticipating issues, and saving them from themselves.

    I found that labels helped me as a teacher, for I could work more efficiently with the child and the family. We could get help where the pros had good ideas. I didn’t hesitate to fight for mistaken labels. I had a child diagnosed with autism, who truly wasn’t. Same with ADHD.

    But discipline without love does not work.

    Thank you for visiting my cottage country !


  5. I don’t know if love solves every problem our children have but I do know that what we’re doing- giving them pills at the drop of a hat doesn’t seem to be solving the problem. Lovely post!


  6. When did childhood become ‘medicalised’? Is the problem not too often ignoring normal childhood impulses in the ongoing effort to pigeonhole children and make them achieve ‘levels’ . . . ?


  7. I taught a boy like that in Sunday School at church. He had the best insights of anyone in the class, and I told his mother weekly how much I loved him.

    Yes, LOVE.


  8. Lovely post…very thoughtful.

    I am lucky to have a boy like that in my life too. And I know well that the diagnosis is quite important. Though I like your letters better.


  9. Fantastic thoughts and images LadyFi.

    It takes much more effort for us to see beyond the surface–but we are certainly rewarded when we do.


  10. Sometimes, it’s good to have answers, but often it’s better to live with questions. My heart breaks for the burdens children must bear. It makes me want to wrap my arms around all the children in my own life and protect them from labels and harm.


  11. i don´t believe in labelling anyone…we are humans and way to complex for just one label to describe us!! I will say this though, that boy is lucky to have you in his corner and all the love you give him…and these were great photos…you captured this moment between friends so well!!


  12. I totally agree with you LF. Too many labels, too much medication and not enough love. I’ll never forget when a mother told me (this was about 12 years ago) that the elementary school nurse where her child went to school had to administer something like 200 children’s meds each day. Mostly for those four letter children.

    Thanks for your submission it’s a wonderful addition to the challenge!


  13. Why do we feel a need to label everyone? And why don’t we realize how much those labels hurt, especially when they are wrong…

    Wonderful post, I hope it makes some people think.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams


  14. One of my Grands is on medication for the school day..he takes his pill when he gets up in the morning. I have talked to him about it, he says it keeps him out of trouble at school and he can focus better. I am sure that the teacher just fails to inspire the he got restless in class. One day for sharing time, he told all the kids that he was on a special pill that would make him less disruptive..and then his classmates made fun of him..except for a few of his best friends.
    Seems like school is more of a struggle nowadays for some children.

    Wonderful “boy” photos..throwing rocks in the water..with a good friend:)


  15. we may never know a person until we step into their shoes, you described so well that person – great pics to go with your words

    have a sweet day.


  16. Beautiful sentiments. A child who’s been labeled appreciates an adult that truly sees who they are. Such an adult is never forgotten for their kindness and taking the time to notice.


  17. I’ve noticed a few other comments with the same idea I have about this – too quick to label and medicate. I hope this boy does great things someday. The world needs people drawing outside of the box too.


  18. The sheer joy captured on your daughter’s face is so awesome. The contrast to the boy alone with Oscar makes for a very powerful group of photos. Beautiful.


  19. Boys need five letter words like ‘space’ and seven letter words like ‘freedom’ and ‘purpose’ but ‘love’ is a good place to start!


  20. Many are never given the chance to live the life they want to be part of. I have sheltered many under my wing, I too would have had those letters after my name had they identified it then.


  21. That was absolutely beautiful.

    I think we jump too quickly to put labels on things/people, look for ways to stop thinking about something in order to go on to the next. It’s a strange disservice we do…



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