Last Friday afternoon I drove home from my payroll training in Houston. Thirty minutes after my arrival Carol and I were back on the road driving to the Austin area. It was a long day.
Saturday afternoon my son-in-law Tom (husband of Elizabeth—my younger daughter) received his BA degree in Computer Science from Texas State University in San Marcos.
It was a proud moment for all of us, and especially for Tom. He is the first in his family (as far as he knows) to have completed 4 years of college. In fact, his own family was less than supportive of his efforts. That’s a long story, and probably best left private.
Tom had to overcome a less-than-adequate primary and secondary education, the above-mentioned lack of support (emotional or otherwise) from his family, a lack of funds, a series of moves and sea-duty assignments in the Navy that made taking classes difficult or impossible, and other challenges to complete his degree program.
One of those other challenges involved taking remedial classes in fundamentals just to qualify for entry into the college program. He was not lacking in IQ or desire, but he’d never learned good study habits.
As in most cases, perseverance prevailed over all the difficulties. You gotta admire someone who sees his goals through to completion in the face of adversity.
I toasted Tom at the celebration dinner and party Saturday night. The topic of my little speech was pride. Not self-pride, as in being stuck-up, but the pride you feel in someone else when they do well.
Did I mention that he graduated with honors? This from a guy who needed help completing the remedial classes to get into college!
Yeah, I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my two daughters for persevering and completing their BA degrees. Some of their friends have likewise achieved goals they’ve set. All of that helps to offset the stories you hear about people with lots of potential who fail to make any effort and end up on the wrong side of the law, or otherwise down and out.
How often is it that just one offer of support, one bit of good advice, one expression of confidence can make the difference and push someone over the edge to determine to improve and be better?
I don’t know the answer. But it sure feels good to see someone overcome adversity and succeed. Kinda makes it worth the effort to offer those things, doesn’t it?