Monday, December 17, 2012
With great pride this weekend, we watched our younger child... our surprise baby... our ADHD wild child... graduate from college.
Even with it being the Winter graduation, there were thousands upon thousands of graduates. We heard Christopher's name called but they were all moving so fast, all three of us (Mother, Father, and Wife) missed seeing his face flash on the screen!
But we were there and it was beautiful. The president of the college talked about those who had achieved fame and honor, students who had sat in those very chairs at one time as they listened to the graduation speeches.
Among them famous scientists, engineers, astronauts, Novel Prize winners, best selling authors, Corporate CEO's, inventors, heads of government, and a few who had won the Super Bowl. (At which time, my husband was really impressed...)
As I sat there this morning, I could not help but think of how my son had been labeled by the end of first grade as one who was slow, stupid, dyslexic, a trouble maker as he had trouble sitting still for long, and generally one who would not amount to much.
So we took him out of the public schools.
Homeschooling was far from easy and at times it was an adventure which made Frodo's seem tame! But I have found that excellence is not easy and the journey itself was part of God's calling to our family.
What it provided was the time needed to teach and to learn and to allow the slow learner to blossom into the young man who graduated in the upper 10% of his class in a world class university.
When he left the community college, after taking the classes he would need to enter the University, he had to be diligent to get accepted in the School of Science. Admission officers kept telling him he should go into Technology instead, he would still get to "play with computers" there.
It seems the School of Science had some bad experiences with homeschoolers and students from the community college. But Christopher prevailed and if I remember correctly, went back so many times that he finally got past the lower level employees and got into see some "assistant this" and "associate that"... and was admitted on probation.
You see, he did not want to play with computers. He wanted to be a scientist, to write the code, to design what others played with! He had written the code to design his first computer game by the time he was twelve (or was it ten?).
He ended up being the only student they could remember who entered on probation and was asked to join their honors program in the same year. What did his mother say? "Tell them you were homeschooled!" He also ended up helping to build a bridge between the community college and the university as a permanent committee has been formed.
Christopher became president of one of the student organizations, made lots of friendships that will last a lifetime, learned that being a leader meant apologizing as well as making hard decisions, and was in a field of study where the only way you survived through graduation was working as a team.
Homeschooling had allowed ADHD to become a gift instead of the sickness in which it was treated in school. Just last year, his doctor at the university asked him if he wanted to go on a drug so he could concentrate better.
Christopher asked him if it would take away his ability to "think outside the box"... that very gift that helped him excel in computer science. When his doctor said it would, my son turned it down. A decision of which his doctor agreed.
I share all of this to encourage any mom who is still in the trenches. They do grow up and turn into wonderful young men and women! It is all accomplished one day at a time, one year at a time... but the results last into eternity.