My next-to-the-youngest son is graduating from high school next week. I believe this is cause to celebrate, but he scoffs and wonders what the big deal is. He doesn't think he has accomplished much in his life. He hasn't received any awards, he didn't become the athlete he always hoped to be, he hasn't been recognized for anything extraodinary, he's not considered a popular kid, he just feels average.
Let me tell you about this "average" kid. He is a natural-born leader. He does not demand this title, yet others seem to gravitate towards him, and follow him. He is someone who does what he wants without concern for what others may think. As a young boy, he would wear striped pants with a plaid shirt, or play T-ball with bright orange shorts and his cowboy boots. He never was one to buy brand name clothing, but would rather see how far his money would stretch. It has never bothered him to dress or act differently than others. He's happy being himself. He is a person of integrity.
This kid has always made me and anyone around him, happy. He has a cheerful disposition ALL the time. He has a sense of humor and can always make people laugh.
He has not achieved scholoastic, athletic, or other honorary awards, but he is a winner. He knows when to step back and glory in the success of others. He is fiercely loyal and supportive of his friends and peers. He attends events in which he'd rather be a participant, but is a spectator, yet he cheers the loudest, exuding genuine happiness in the success of others.
He is one of the bravest people I know. He tried out for, and earned a spot in competing in "Mr. Springville" at the high school. It was a tough competition, broken down into multiple mini competitions. For the talent portion, there were some boys who sang or danced, always with either a group of other friends participating with them, or with music blaring as their background (or cover-up??); skits, where again, friends joined them in the presentation. My son is the ONLY one who opened himself up to a raw display of comedy. There were no flashing lights, no background music, no group of friends performing with him, just him, all alone on that stage, with the student body and parents staring at him, critiquing him. He would either fall flat on his face and get no laughs, or he'd "nail" it. Guess what? He NAILED it! He was scared to death, but he had everyone laughing and applauding enthusiastically. That experience gave him one of the biggest boosts of his life, but he had to take the gamble and jump into the cold water, head first. He didn't drown, but rose above the surface a better person, having more confidence in himself than ever before. I'm so proud of him.
My son is self-motivated, responsible, and honest. I have never once had to drag him out of bed to get to school or work. I've never had to nag him about his homework, or remind him about his work schedule. He always says to me "Mom...I've got it covered", and he does. He never calls into work "sick", but fulfills his responsibility without complaint. His boss knows he can depend on him and has never been disappointed in him. He's not a "flaky" teenager. He is trustworthy and does what he says he will do. He doesn't look for a "cheat" or a shortcut.
My son went to the extra effort of achieving his Eagle Scout award. He doesn't give himself enough credit for this, but it's a big deal I think.
So while others are receiving their awards and medals of honor, scholarships and recognition, (which are all wonderful), I'll take my "average" son any day. He's an exceptional person, a boy growing into a mature young man, who will contribute to society in HIS way. I am so proud of him and love him with all my heart, and I feel this world is a better place because of him.