When I began writing this blog I didn’t think that I’d ever talk about my kids, but recent events have caused me to take pause and more fully appreciate the time I’ve been able to share with both of them.
Like most parents with teenagers I wonder where have all the years gone? Of course, that question is easily answered with one quick look in the mirror. Still, as I see friends and family with young children, I recall the innocence of Rachel and a flood of memories overtake me. Oh, I don’t miss changing diapers or the sleepless nights, but occasionally I yearn for the days when she’d hike herself up on my lap- demanding yet another book be read… or those times she’d open the kitchen drawer – tossing out all the pots and pans, just so she could crawl in and take up residence in that spot.
Reality swiftly reasserts its natural position. In a year from now Rachel will be preparing for high school graduation – the mere thought of a kid in college will readjust one’s life perspective in a heartbeat. Like a heavy morning fog lifting, I see Rachel emerging into her next phase… a young woman with a bright mind, a healthy, spirited soul and blessed with promising artistic talent… I sit back and am amazed at the person she’s becoming.
I want this boys life… Saturday, March 24th – catching sweet backside grabs at Monarch Mountain in 8” fresh + the following Saturday, April 1st throwing his first loop at the OMP kayak clinic on the St. Francis River in southeastern Missouri. This is Sam’s ‘fun’ side… I guess it pays to be his chauffeur.
There is a depth to Sam that craves the balance delivered by participation in sports and time spent outdoors. An intensely driven kid, Sam has been gifted academically. Next year, he’ll enter the Center for International Studies program at SMS High School where he’s chosen to study Arabic two hours a day, five days a week for the next four years… yes, I did say High School. Shish- where did this kid come from? Sam is without question, his own person.
Sam has also been imbued with a unique sense of social justice. Two years ago, he began a petition calling on the United Nations to halt the ongoing genocide in Darfur. After collecting more than 250 signatures Sam’s letter was sent to Kofi Anan’s office with a copy going to President George Bush. Neither the UN or the White House ever responded to the petition. Undaunted, Sam pursued this cause by recruiting a number of classmates at Indian Hills Middle School and together the group began circulating a new Darfur petition that will be sent to the leaders of the U.S. Congress. Thus far their group has collected nearly 1,000 signatures.
Most everyone reading this either has children, nieces or nephews, grandchildren or friends with children. I’d encourage everyone to co-opt the IHMS petition in your area schools and communities – demanding that our legislative leadership apply economic pressure on the Sudanese government to stop this state sponsored genocide. E-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll forward you a pdf copy of the Darfur petition.