Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dedication Meets Drive

There are times when my wife thinks I rave too much about our kids. However, even she will agree this isn’t one of those times.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I attended an Academic Awards ceremony for our sophomore age son. He’d earned a letter for maintaining an “A” average for his freshman year. He did it, while taking accelerated courses in math and science, and participating in marching band, Boy Scouts, and rec league baseball. When he walked that aisle, my wife and I glowed like all of the parents at the ceremony.

However, we may have glowed for different reasons.

My teenager has a learning disability: a severe speech delay. It’s a challenge he’s struggled with all his life. Speaking and writing have always come difficult for him. Since pre-K, he has taken speech and language lessons. At home, my wife and I also worked with him to improve his speech.  

We also struggled with him on his homework. Language Arts is his nemesis. My wife once commented that English is our son’s second language and we have no idea what his first one is. Familiarity was achieved slowly through drills, but perfection remains elusive. Despite the language challenge, he showed an aptitude for Math and Science, through hours of studying each day.

When he hit middle school, the subjects got harder. However, something also got easier. He had learned to study. When his math class proved too easy, he asked if we could move him to the higher level math class. All he needed to do was pass a test. We told him no. We wanted him to have one easy subject, we explained to him. The following week he came home with a note, saying that he passed the math test and could be elevated to the higher class. Math was the one class where his disability didn’t affect him. He took pride in it. We acquiesced. Because he could do the math, he got moved to the upper level science course. We allowed it.

By the time he started high school, language arts still haunted his efforts, but the idea of taking harder courses in other subjects was no longer debated. The first year saw many hours hitting his studies. Seeing what he’s gone through to get there, my wife and I stood amazed with the results.

                                                    My son and his high school principal

For students who maintain their “A” average, the school my son attends awards bars to go with the letter. After the event, my son noted that the groups in the higher grades were smaller. His studies continue to be hard. He knows he may not make it back next year.

But he has his letter. He’ll always have his letter.

And come this Christmas, he’ll have a school letterman jacket to put it on.

What has made you the most proud of your kids?

Free clip art from

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