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 responses

  1. ~~I see boys like that every single day at school. They are overflowing with Love. Love. Love.
    Thanks Lady Fi, You are beautiful.


    May 21, 2011 at 16:50

  2. 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…


    May 21, 2011 at 17:06

  3. SandySays1

    I always enjoy my visits here!


    May 21, 2011 at 17:14

  4. This little boy is so lucky to know you for all the L-O-V-E you will give him just by listening to his beautiful stories. Now going to visit your friend. Awesome, story and gorgeous photographs, Thank you Ladyfi


    May 21, 2011 at 17:17

  5. I´m sure the boy with thrive with that label of LOVE!


    May 21, 2011 at 17:28

  6. What a great label to have. Loved.


    May 21, 2011 at 18:12

  7. smiles. that is the best 4 letter label they can get…sad when their diagnosis becomes who they are known as


    May 21, 2011 at 18:17

  8. not…there isn´t anything more pleasantthan that..nice weekend


    May 21, 2011 at 18:24

  9. Jim

    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!


    May 21, 2011 at 18:48

  10. So so true, this story has been told in Photography 1st class.


    May 21, 2011 at 19:52

  11. 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 🙂


    May 21, 2011 at 20:28

  12. Evocative captures with a moving story. You are so right, LadyFi.


    May 21, 2011 at 21:04

  13. 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 !


    May 21, 2011 at 21:09

  14. How lovely, photos and story both!


    May 21, 2011 at 21:11

  15. 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!


    May 21, 2011 at 21:32

  16. Gorgeous photos and story. I like the colors in the photos. It reminds me of London.


    May 21, 2011 at 22:24

  17. Very moving. LOVE will conquer everything.


    May 21, 2011 at 23:13

  18. 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’ . . . ?


    May 21, 2011 at 23:48

  19. 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.


    May 22, 2011 at 01:38

  20. ah, you are so very wise , ladyfi


    May 22, 2011 at 01:49

  21. Skipping rocks with the dog, great photos.


    May 22, 2011 at 02:45

  22. A powerful story. These are beautiful kids who often guard the way in, keeping others out with their energy and activity. The challenge is to love.


    May 22, 2011 at 02:46

  23. Lovely lovely words w/beautiful photos to match.


    May 22, 2011 at 03:54

  24. 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.


    May 22, 2011 at 03:57

  25. 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.


    May 22, 2011 at 04:50

  26. Lovely shots!

    Shadow shots on a relaxing walk, have a great weekend!


    May 22, 2011 at 05:17

  27. 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.


    May 22, 2011 at 07:44

  28. heartwarming post….


    May 22, 2011 at 08:04

  29. So right….
    “we” focus on the WRONG labels in our world today….

    Thank you for sharing this perspective; one we should ALL have.


    May 22, 2011 at 09:16

  30. Lg

    Fantastiskt bra foton!


    May 22, 2011 at 10:17

  31. I agree Fi. Sometimes love and tolerance can do wonders. – Dave


    May 22, 2011 at 10:26

  32. Amy

    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!!


    May 22, 2011 at 10:35

  33. Lovely post, Lady Fi! Your photos are wonderful! Have a Happy Sunday!


    May 22, 2011 at 12:23

  34. 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!


    May 22, 2011 at 13:24

  35. Wonderful post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.


    May 22, 2011 at 14:43

  36. very nice photos, like the boy and the dog near the water


    May 22, 2011 at 14:52

  37. Your photos shared brings forth a warm, wonderful piece of serenity!!!

    Sorry, I’m so late getting around…I know you visited with me earlier this week at my Camera Critters blog…much appreciated.

    Hope your week has treated you well!!!

    My Sunday Post…’ribbit’!!


    May 22, 2011 at 15:14

  38. Jen

    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


    May 22, 2011 at 16:46

  39. 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:)


    May 22, 2011 at 17:39

  40. 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.


    May 22, 2011 at 18:06

  41. wonderful photos


    May 22, 2011 at 18:17

  42. Clive - Autism Assistance Dog

    We know all about those ‘labels’ only too well!

    Great post!


    May 22, 2011 at 20:28

  43. cherry blossom

    Now that is a priceless label!


    May 22, 2011 at 21:14

  44. Society….and…their labels…man oh man!


    May 22, 2011 at 22:57

  45. Great tones with a beautiful light. The frames are superb, capturing the greatness of this issue.


    May 22, 2011 at 23:03

  46. cloudia

    defining the best among us as flawed is infernal…

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral





    May 23, 2011 at 00:20

  47. 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.


    May 23, 2011 at 00:28

  48. Amen! Wonderful post!


    May 23, 2011 at 00:45

  49. Lovely and very well said. May all children be labeled with LOVE and nothing else. Let us smother them with it.


    May 23, 2011 at 02:11

  50. 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.


    May 23, 2011 at 05:48

  51. Such a hearrtwarming post!
    Gorgeous pictures!


    May 23, 2011 at 06:09

  52. Fantastic colors and light. ❤


    May 23, 2011 at 06:33

  53. Beautiful post, Fi. Those are the four letters which matter the most.


    May 23, 2011 at 11:42

  54. Lovely photos and story. Not only the boy who needs LOVE, we all need TLC 🙂

    Have a great week. Thanks for dropping by…


    May 23, 2011 at 16:50

  55. 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.


    May 23, 2011 at 17:45

  56. Jan

    Awesome photos and post.


    May 23, 2011 at 18:20

  57. Oh wow – I got a boy like that too. You made me cry!! : )


    May 24, 2011 at 03:53

  58. Beautiful post. It should be hanging in every classroom in every school.


    May 24, 2011 at 04:30

  59. Why don’t we invent “love-labels?”


    May 24, 2011 at 05:17

  60. What a nice story!

    Makes me think of my Grandson. 🙂
    The images look like they could have been a part of a movie. Well done!


    May 24, 2011 at 12:44

  61. Beautiful!


    May 24, 2011 at 19:40

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


    May 24, 2011 at 19:40

  63. Used to be our definition of normal was very broad. Now it has gotten very narrow.


    May 25, 2011 at 09:07

  64. Yes I agree! Love is the appropriate label for sure!!
    Congrats on your POTW


    May 25, 2011 at 11:45

  65. A poignant reminder. Thank you. And congrats on the POTW.


    May 25, 2011 at 13:47

  66. I like your photos and story! It’s such a heart-warming to look and to read. I knew of adults who still have tantrums..


    May 25, 2011 at 14:09

  67. 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.


    May 25, 2011 at 15:15

  68. came over from hilary’s POTW. this was wonderful! so sweet. and hopeful for understanding.


    May 25, 2011 at 15:22

  69. 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…



    May 25, 2011 at 15:36

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