It may sound as if I am sharing this accolade to boast…but please understand that I have no need to do that. I know who Jake is and how much I love, admire and adore him. It certainly doesn’t change what I feel about him, that his teachers and principal voted this honor be given to him, his first month in middle school, as a 6th grader. But they did, and I am so happy for my darling grandson. And I am so very proud of his parents and family! I share this with
you because we so often forget what parents and families contribute to a young life, one that is at its most formative stage. Even as parents plod along through full-time employment, driving from after-school activity to after-dinner activity, establishing a quiet time at night for reading, reminding their children to turn out the lights, reminding them to eat a good breakfast as the next
day begins again. All these things young families experience, and then, at least for Jake’s family…a surprise…when they least expect one!
The surprise of it all struck Jake’s mom, my daughter, Allison, and my son-inlaw, Dave. Yes, we all see the best in our children, as well as the demands of their specific personalities and needs. So when something comes out of the blue, something that says your young adult shows leadership, compassion, is trustworthy and helpful, sets an example worth following, well, those are qualities that every parent would hope exists in their child. But what Allison told me is that the single most special part of it all is this…at the breakfast to honor the chosen for the month, the principal congratulated the young honorees. And then he spoke to the parents. He reminded them of the first time they held their infant, the first time they gazed into their tiny eyes, (showing all their love and astonishment at the miracle of life) they didn’t say to the
baby, or themselves, “I hope he is a great athlete, or she is a beautiful dancer.”He mused that parents thought “I hope he/she has a healthy, happy life, with all the wonderful characteristics that brings.”
But more than anything, I surmise that Allison and Dave had hoped Jake would be a good person. And he is! He most certainly is…I can attest to this because my standard for being a “good person” is rather high, and he has elevated my standard.
Again, please do not think of this as boasting. This is not a reflection of me, and I don’t state it as such. Pride, yes. Acknowledgment, yes. But Jake is his own person and models after his nuclear family and their values. And to that point, Jake wrestles, a sport his dad and uncles did when they were younger. During this past season, Jake had concussions which sidelined him and required therapies to help him to heal. Apparently, as frustrated as this young man had to be watching others do what he loves to do, he was motivated to support, lead and once again distinguish himself in the eyes of his middle school family. We were all pleasantly surprised when, for the second time, as a 7th grader, Jake was named STUDENT OF THE MONTH.
I know there are nights when Allison and Dave, like so many parents, would like nothing more than to climb into bed after a long and draining day at work. They would like to say “enough!” They would like to say it is their night, their time, their energy to be regenerated. But they don’t! They get in the car and drive, or sit at the kitchen table going over math facts, or listen to their young violinists struggle with notes. Whatever it is they do to create a sense of support and guidance…I admire them…I congratulate them…I encourage them! We have few chances in life to do something as important as be there for our children and help them be the best they can be, and to know that
whether or not they reach their dreams, we are always there holding the ladder as they climb!