Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Quiet Ones Might Just Surprise You
Our son Steven fits this category. As an elementary student Steven was a kind and gentle soul. He followed the rules, laughed often and took care of others. He wasn't the kid being chosen for the student council or the Choose to Lead program at his school. He was chosen as student of the month several times and every teacher said the same thing, "He's such a nice boy, concerned for everyone and always happy." In first or second grade he surprised us all by stepping up for a solo at the winter music concert, and he nailed it, not one bit of nervousness showed.
We saw a glimpse of what was to come beginning in fifth grade when, at the end of the year talent show, he did voice impressions. The lovely Mrs. Prosser and I knew Steven was funny, in a quiet, witty kind of way, but we had no idea the level of confidence he really had. He took the stage doing Mickey Mouse, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elmo and his specialty, Donald Duck. The crowd went crazy and our Steven, our quiet Steven, commanded the stage.
He continued to branch out in middle school, playing various sports, participating in choir and drama and doing well in school. As we attended events we began to have teachers and coaches begin to say, "Ohhh, you're Steven's parents, what a great kid!"
It was in high school that we saw Steven really begin to show his true talents. He continued his sports focusing on his new love, volleyball. He continued performing in the choir and on stage in the Darby productions, but now he added a new wrinkle, he began taking a leadership role in all of these things. He was chosen as a captain of the volleyball team, he was elected as an officer in choir and served in the freshman student council. He began talking of his future plans as a leader at his school. He had a real vision of what he wanted to accomplish in his four years at Hilliard Darby.
In his senior year, Steven could not have done anymore for his school. As class president he lead the student body in a way that changed the culture of the school. Now the lovely Mrs. Prosser and I had teachers and total strangers coming up to us telling us how much they loved Steven and what he had done for his school. The beauty of it all is that it wasn't just Steven. He maintained his humility through it all and gave credit to his fellow class officers and those around that helped create an amazing school year for all of the students. He also kept his kindness, making sure that everyone felt welcome and included in everything, he was till taking care of others, and laughing a lot.
At his graduation party his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Cassell looked at the table set up celebrating Steven's accomplishments. Shaking her head she said, "I never would have predicted this. I knew Steven was a good boy and would do well, but I never would have thought he would have accomplished all of this. You must be very proud." Yes, we are.
On Sunday we will pack Steven up for his freshman year at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana, he's moving in a week early as part of a leadership program. I've known a lot of kids who say they will re-invent themselves in college, become the person they wished they had been in high school. I don't think that's true of my son, I think he and everyone around him like the person he is. That doesn't mean he won't try new things, he's never been afraid of that. It just means that he will continue the progression he's been working on for the last 12 years, being all he can be, and taking care of others. I know there will be lots of tears shed on Sunday, the lovely Mrs. Prosser, his sister, Meredith, and I will all cry for most of the 2 hour drive home, but in the end we will all be excited to watch what he does with the next four years.
Watch the quiet ones, they will surprise you. As my mother used to say, "Still waters run deep."