I do alot of writing.
It comes naturally.
I do alot of talking.
Again - it comes naturally.
I write and talk alot about my kids.
This weekend I had to write about my son. Not a blog. No silly story. Not me finding my way through parenthood or some unchartered territory.
This one mattered.
At Son #1's high school they have an online profile they keep about each Senior as they prepare for their college journey. There are many things that have to be filled out and completed.
One of those forms is a parents' "brag sheet", if you will.
It is my opportunity to advertise my son and be his biggest cheerleader.
I opened the laptop and scrolled through the page.
List his achievements.
What am I proud of?
But there was one question that I got stuck on.
I needed to stop and think.
I called my husband over and asked him to read the questions.
I wanted his input for one particular question.
Choose 5 words to describe my son and explain why I chose each one.
We all know that would not be an easy task for me.
Being that I don't like limitations and all...
But more than that I wanted to make sure that I chose the perfect five words.
The words that would be the most important.
The words that would encompass his greatest character.
The words that would be truthful.
I got to really stop and think hard about my son.
And who he REALLY is.
Not as a child.
But as an individual.
As a human being.
A child of God.
I chose a different approach.
I feverishly typed every adjective that came to my mind that suited my son.
Then I turned the list over to my husband.
"What do YOU think? What words would YOU add? Take away?"
He read the question.
Then my list.
We talked quietly between the two of us. Discussing Son #1 who laid on the other end of the sectional sofa napping with his back to us. (Although I am pretty sure he was faking and was listening to our discussion with strained ears.)
It was interesting to see our different views of our child and the qualities we each deemed most admirable.
It was even more wonderful to see how much we agreed upon things.
We narrowed the list to 8 words.
We could only choose 5.
So my husband had a plan.
He would write his list of 5 separately from mine.
Then I would choose my 5.
As I was choosing my 5 - suddenly another word popped into my head. ( I told you it would be difficult for me to narrow my words.) I added the new word to my list and informed my husband.
He did not like that I was playing outside of the rules. Deviating from the original choices laid before us.
I took the time to explain why that word was important to me.
Without hesitation, we each had a new word on the list.
We narrowed it down to the five words.
I would then write why I chose each word.
I quickly typed.
It took me a couple of hours to complete the form.
I wrote. Backspaced. Typed again. Stopped. Thought. Typed some more.
Until it was finished.
I asked my husband to read it.
And he did.
Son #1 eagerly snatched the laptop from my husband.
Excited to see what I had written.
What I believed of my son.
They both agreed I had done well and everyone was pleased.
I took the laptop back.
I returned to the section about the five words.
I wondered what would the five words be if someone had to choose them to describe me.
I thought how wonderful it could make someone feel to know those things.
Things that we don't often say directly.
Words that we might not say out loud.
I thought how we may approach life differently if we knew how those closest to us really thought of us.
How we may feel differently about ourselves.
Words that we all need to hear.
I am so thankful that I had the chance to write those words about my son.
That he had the chance to read them.
That he knows perfectly what I think of him.
"Eager - No matter what he is participating in, Son #1 is always eager and willing. He engages with a positive attitude and looks forward to whatever the situation may bring.
Versatile - Don't be fooled by Son's #1 declaration of "undecided" for a college major. This is only to show he has a vast array of interests and stands as a testament to his talents. He enjoys a gamut of hobbies and interests and his eagerness to engage always accelerates his ability. Trying to narrow down from a wide variety of interests is proving to be his challenge. Right now he considers the field of Robotics, the power of American History as well as the passion of Creative Writing.
Creative - Son #1 has been a most creative child. Early on in his childhood he earned the nickname, "The Idea Man" and it has continued to follow him into adolescence. He has always been the one with the imagination and creativity to come up with things to build and do. I recall many years of watching Son #1 with a group of kids and siblings surrounding him, while he called out the instructions to building a fort or making up a neighborhood game.
Individualistic - Son #1 marches to his own drum. His own values and convictions are rarely affected by the influence of others. He has his own understanding of what is right and wrong and follows those instincts. He has never been someone who worries about what others think or following trends. Son #1 is authentic in his beliefs and there is no hidden agenda. What you see is what you get. Son #1 has always been an individual who knows who he is, what he enjoys and what he does not and lives his life accordingly.
Honest - Son #1 has been a fabulous teenager and I believe him to be exceptionally trustworthy. I trust him to be where he says he is going to be and do what he says he is going to do. He is kind and loyal and is someone who can be counted on to tell the truth. He lives his life with integrity and has been a great example of someone who follows their conscience. Son #1 has always had a deeply rooted sense of right and wrong and does not hesitate to live his life accordingly."
After I read this again this morning, I felt happy.
My own words reminded me how fortunate I am.
During adolescence it is easy to get caught up in the things that drive you crazy as a parent. Messy rooms, smart mouths, arguing or laziness to name a few.
But when it's time to truly get down to the heart of the matter...
To the heart of your child.
It's a great encouragement.
What five words would you choose to describe your child?
Don't wait until someone on a form asks you.
Maybe they need to know now.
Maybe you need to be reminded.