Thursday, November 13, 2008

Humbling Lesson

I attended a community awards ceremony tonight. It was all about awarding people in the neighborhood where I work for doing great things. They have a Beautiful House Award, a Beautiful Business Award, a Public Servant of the Year, a Young Athlete of the Year, etc. I love going to this because it reminds me of the best of the people around me.

This year, I cheered and clapped as the kids went up. YOu know me, I always love seeing the kids being honored. One of them, a High School Senior, won a Young Scholar of the Year. She has excellent grades at Linden-McKinley HS, and a list of other activities, accomplishments and volunteer work as long as both my arms together. It was really impressive!

After the ceremony I happened to share a table with her mother as we enjoyed some refreshments . . . and here is where I was humbled. Along with this young woman's mother, I also met her 2-year-old daughter.

Yup - you read that right - that amazing, bright, gifted, giving young woman is also a mother. She plans to become Bill Gates someday. She has dreams and goals and is already well on her way to making them a reality. And she's a mom.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know that we have lots and lots of teen parents in our world, and especially in the neighborhood where I work. I also know we have lots of great, bright, ambitious, talented teens who have high expectations for themselves and meet them. I was shocked at myself for not really thinking before about those young people who are both at the same time.

Kudos to that young woman, and props to her mother, too, for helping to make it all possible. Someone has instilled some important values in that young woman's life, and it's most likely been her mother.

I am humbled, my mind is more open than before, and I've learned a valuable lesson. Not every teen mom drops out of HS and goes on welfare. I knew it before, but somehow in the midst of all my do-goodery, I'd forgotten.

I'll try to do better now.


Mary Lee said...


Jim Brochowski said...

It's easy to "lump folks into categories" and forget that there are so many stories and many don't necessarily fit the stereotype. I try to keep this in mind when folks, myself included start talking about "all the homeless" people at Main Library. Yeah, some are working the system etc..., but many are there simply because they've no place else to go, or are trying to improve or...

Kudos to you for recognizing this young lady and her accomplishments and also for your reflection on the moment.

And thanks for sharing an inspiring story.