An Australian mother says she was heartbroken when she read a Christmas card that was given to her 6-year-old son.
Anna Mitchell was getting ready to celebrate the last day of kindergarten for her 6-year-old son, the Daily Mail reported. But when she came home, she found her son crying in his bedroom.
"Instead, I was drawn to my son’s bedroom by the sound of crying — deep guttural sobs and moments of silence, as he struggled to compose himself," Mitchell wrote on MamaMia. "His shoulders heaving. His face broken. Eyes squinting and pleading. Tears streaming. The whole works.
"He was sitting cross-legged in the middle of his room, surrounded by candy canes and cards from his friends."
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The boy was crying because one of the cards read, "I hat you," which the child believed meant to say, "I hate you."
"My own heart broke into a thousand pieces in an instant," Mitchell wrote. "Fleeting memories of rejection from my own youth came flooding back, tenfold. Moments long mothballed."
The card featured a drawing of an upside down heart with an "X" going through it. The boy asked his mother if the card intended to say "hate."
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"Needless to say it was a long afternoon," Mitchell recalled. "Many discussions were had about friendship, deception and yes… hate. Worthy dialogue, of course, under any other circumstance."
Mitchell called the school, but administrators could not track down who wrote the card. The mother then took to Facebook to try and find out for herself.
"Within hours, I was contacted by a school dad who told me his daughter was behind the offending message," Mitchell said. "He said he did not think to read each of her cards. To his credit, he [apologized] profusely and assured me he had spoken to his daughter. He also said he'd be happy to privately discuss the 'reasoning' behind her card."
Mitchell admitted that "no child is perfect."
"But at the end of the day, one thing is unequivocally clear: hate is not a natural feeling for a six-year-old," Mitchell wrote. "Children learn to hate."
While the Christmas card may have caused some hurt to Mitchell and her son, it also did some good.
"When word got out about the card, several [moms] banded together - sending through video messages and photos of their children holding up hand-written notes and drawings for my little boy," Mitchell wrote. "'You are a good friend,' 'You are very nice,' 'Merry Christmas.'"
"So let this be a lesson to all this festive season," the mother added. "Teach your children to love and accept. Be kind always. And please check your children's Christmas cards."