Today, as you might have noticed, my blog was a little late. This morning, I spent about an hour with my oldest daughter, Megan. Megan registered for high school today. Pete and I have chosen a small Catholic school for Megan. Pete attended a small Catholic high school and really enjoyed his experience there. I on the other hand attended a large public school and got a little lost in the system. It was no one’s fault but my own, but I can see the benefits of a small school. One, it has a community feel. You just feel like everyone knows and respects each other. While that can have its drawbacks, for Megan, it seems like a good fit. Pete and I will be the first ones to admit that each child is different when you are deciding on a school. It has happened with our family multiple times. They just don’t all fit into one box. In fact, our three kids fit into three very different boxes.
I am digressing from my story. During the registration process, Megan and I met with her guidance counselor. She asked Megan a few questions to try to bring out Megan’s personality. Mostly, the questions were, “What attracted you to our school? What college would you like to go to? What is your favorite subject? What college did your parents attend?” It was obvious that the counselor wanted to understand Megan before placing her into classes. She made us feel right at home. Her last question to Megan was the one that got me. She said, “Megan, I know you are only 14 years old, but I want to know what you would like to do as a career? I recognize that your answer may change each year that I ask this, but I find it interesting to ask the students this, and it helps me to understand more about you.”
In my mind I was thinking there is no way Megan has any idea what she is going to do. Her life is cross country, track and academics. She throws singing in the mix too. Life is about relationships with her friends and school. My guess is she hasn’t even thought about her career path.
Well, I was wrong. Megan’s reply came out. She said, “I am interested in the medical field. Not surgery or dealing with blood, but more physical therapy. You see, I have a cousin with Down Syndrome, and I went to visit him this Fall. When I was there, the physical therapist came in and helped my baby cousin. I was touched by what the therapist did, and I realized I wanted to be that therapist. I wanted to help kids with disabilities.”
There you go. My mouth probably fell open at this point. When Pete and Megan went out to see my nephew, it was a birthday present for Megan. She wanted to see her baby cousin so badly, yet he was a thousand miles away. It was a wonderful trip for her and her father. They brought back lots of pictures and stories to all of us who stayed back at home. But never at any time did she share with me the experience with the physical therapist.
Just when you think that you recognize the God moments in your kid’s life, God throws something like this your way. I realized that my daughter is passionate about her cousin. I don’t think it is that he has Down Syndrome. I think it is because she sees that he is vulnerable and dependent on someone else. He needs that physical therapist and she wants to be that person. As I thought back, Megan has been wonderful with her sister, Katie. Katie has suffered with a seizure disorder since she was one year old. Megan has witnessed these seizures and seen firsthand how the seizures affect Katie. Megan also has been a huge part of Katie’s growth and development. Megan always knows and understands Katie’s moods (which are not easy to comprehend). She knows just when to tease Katie, and just when Katie needs a little TLC. For a 14 year old, Megan really does show a lot of patience and wisdom when it comes to kiddos with disabilities. Her passion (although it may change) has always been for those that find life challenging, and she finds the time to help them overcome their obstacles or at least congratulate them when they have accomplished a goal.
I have blogged in the past about Megan congratulating individuals after a race. It is not a rare scene to see Megan at the finish line “high fiving” all those who have run in a cross country race. Down to the very last racer – she tells them congrats. Because she knows the importance of accomplishing a goal – no matter what your time is.
I could learn a lesson from my 14 year old. She lived in the moment when she went to visit her cousin. She wasn’t saddened by the cards that had been dealt to him in life. She was excited for the challenges that he was going to face. So excited that she wanted (and wants) to help him conquer those challenges in the present and future. I wish I could look at life like that. Seeing what seems like an injustice, but actually is nothing but a challenge along the course of life; a challenge that can be defeated with the right help and guidance.
Phillipians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.