I'm sure you have no idea the impact you've had. I know that your kindness, your compassion, and your encouraging personality are just part of who you are. Your reaching out to Daniel has not been to draw attention to yourself in any way. You just truly care about others. And I want you to know how much of a difference your caring has made in Daniel's life.
Running for Daniel is not natural or smooth because he was born with spina bifida. And three years ago, just before we adopted him, he got a serious brain infection which left him with some significant developmental delays. I remember on the first day of cross country practice, one little boy laughed when he told me that Daniel's legs “looked like they were going everywhere.”
It would be easy to make fun of Daniel because of the ways he's different and because he still struggles with English. But you haven't laughed at him.
You called him your friend.
I'm sure you didn't know that no one had ever called him that before.
You were concerned when he was taking a long time to finish his first cross country meet, and you told me you would wait for him when he was the last one to come out of the woods.
At the next cross country meet, you were excited to see Daniel after the race. I could hear your amazement when you excitedly told Daniel that you had come in first place out of all the 2nd and 3rd graders. But when you told your little brother, “Daniel is my friend,” it was obvious to me that friendship is more important to you than winning.
One morning at cross country practice I saw you running backwards to encourage Daniel to keep running when he wanted to walk. “Come on, Daniel, you're about to finish your second lap.”
Steven, I want you to know that I hope you continue to win races. And I also hope that you never lose your compassionate heart for the one who comes in last.
I just want to say thank you.
For being Daniel's first friend.