Friday, May 4, 2012

Pride & Projects

        I am beaming with pride, a father's heartfelt pride.  My oldest daughter was awarded a gold medal for her science project.  I am proud that she achieved such a goal but I am more excited for much deeper reasons.  The pride comes from not helping her achieve this honor.  She took on this project and worked hard on her own. She would not be denied her objective, dragging Grandpa through the woods.  Maple syrup would be her goal.  She wanted to learn the process from start to finish.  And she wanted to learn the "old-fashioned" way from her grandfather.
         Along the way, she had guidance but she did not ask for someone to do it for her, neither would Grandpa allow her to put the task off on someone else.  They worked together, mentor and student, over several weeks, tapping, gathering, evaporating, boiling, and bottling.  She wanted to show how the nutrients in trees traveled up through the trunk to the branches and leaves and then prove that those nutrients could be transformed into something people could live on.
          In the ever-escalating arms race of childhood excellence, where parents take over homework and school projects to ensure their child's achievement, my daughter wanted to reach her goals on her own.  She flew in the face of those that would commandeer a child's learning in order to pad school transcripts with awards that they garnered and not their child.  My daughter took on the responsibility of the task, win or lose, with the real possibility of mistakes or failure.  My job as a parent is to allow those mistakes and the life lessons that come from them, be it disappointment or success.  I am proud of her growth, her maturity, and her achievement, made all the more sweeter because it was her own.

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