She won the L-E’s Back-to-School Advice Contest. Here’s the story behind her wisdom.

Back-to-School Advice Contest winner explains wisdom she shared with her son

Christina Kaler won the Ledger-Enquirer's inaugural Back-to-School Advice Contest.
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Christina Kaler won the Ledger-Enquirer's inaugural Back-to-School Advice Contest.

The night before his first day of kindergarten last week, 5-year-old Britton Kaler confessed to his mother, Christina, that he was worried he wouldn’t make friends at L.K. Moss Elementary School in Marion County.

He was “kind of a little overwhelmed by all the bodies in the hallway during open house,” said Christina, who received a $50 Walmart giftcard for winning the Ledger-Enquirer’s inaugural Back-to-School Advice Contest.

So at bedtime, after reading “Dinosaur Starts School” by Pamela Duncan Edwards, Christina gave this advice to her son:

“Be the person you are. Everyone may not be your best friend, but if you are kind and follow your heart and true self, you cannot go wrong.”

Her advice out of 23 entrants was randomly selected as the contest’s winner, but it also proved to be successful for her son.

Britton thought for a bit and told his mother, “OK. I can do that.’”

And he did.

The next morning, when they arrived at his classroom, Britton said, ‘Mom, I’ve got this. … You can go.’”

How did that make her feel?

“Like we prepared him accurately,” Christina said during an interview at the home of her mother-in-law, Kelly Kaler.

Another indication that Britton was ready for kindergarten came when Christina overheard his teacher ask him if he knows what letter his name starts with — and he spelled the whole thing. Christina praised the education Britton received at Columbus Christian Preschool in All Saints Presbyterian Church in Midland.

While she was at work, taking care of an elderly woman in Buena Vista, she resisted texting the teacher to ensure Britton was OK.

“I figured they would call if there was a problem,” she said.

Christina credits her husband, Steven, self-employed in construction, for inspiring her advice for Britton.

“He always says to worry about ourselves and not other people,” she said. “People do what they do; just take care of yourself.”

Britton certainly seemed like he followed that advice.

“He pretty much took that to heart,” Christina said. “He had a good day.”

Britton confirmed that report as he played in the yard. Asked what he liked best about his first day of kindergarten, he hollered, “Everything!”

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE