My number five called me bright and early this morning. As we are in different time zones, it was very early for him. Because I teach the early 7:30 class at college I am always a little shocked when I get a call during class, especially from one of my kids. I saw his name flash on the screen and wondered immediately if everything was OK. I think the last time I talked to him at 6:30 in the morning (his time) was when he was in high school and I was trying to get him up for school.
However, my number five called me early and I hurried outside my classroom to speak with him. My voice was a bit quivery as I answered. His voice was not at all quivery, “Mom, I just finished my first pursuit on foot. I am off work now, but it just happened.” I could hear the smile in his voice running along with the excitement. We talked briefly and then I had to tell him that I was at work and would call him back.
I smiled at my students as I re-entered the classroom and they wanted to know if everything was all right. I explained that my number five was in his first week as a licensed Peace Officer (policeman) in the great state of Texas and that he was just getting off work and wanted to call. I didn’t tell them specifics but I did pull up his picture one more time and show it around. They sighed and a few rolled their eyes. They have seen the picture before and have heard in excruciating detail about his graduation, but they humored me as I droned on about the accomplishments of my son.
What they don’t realize is that there were years when we didn’t speak because we were angry or offended or something else just as ridiculous. We fought over nothing and everything. He wanted independence and I wanted him to have it as soon as possible. At times the mother-son bond between us was down to a few threads and NOW he was calling me to share a part of his day. Of course I was smiling and flashing his picture around the room!
As I looked around my room, I saw others’ sons and daughters. I saw twenty-four beautiful, young people perched on the threshold of life. Some were happy. Some were grouchy. Others were indifferent. But, like my son, they want to be able to call someone and tell about their day. Their papers are filled with longings and dreams of what they want for themselves and their world. They write about past memories and future possibilities.
With all of the technological advances and fancy doo-dads on the market, today’s young folks are no different than we were at that age. They want to be celebrated and made to feel important. They want someone to listen to them. They will talk. I know. I can arrive an hour early or stay an hour after class and there won’t be a moment of silence if I but ask one or two leading questions. They have things to share and they love to discuss and argue. They swell up like pufferfish if encouraged just a little bit.
“Did you really say I was a good writer?”
“Yes, because you are.”
Their smiles are a wonder to behold.
Call someone today and make your ears and heart available. Ask a leading question and then listen. Encourage them to pursue their dreams. Make them smile. Tell them they are amazing. Nod and agree with most of what they say. Help someone just starting out on this complex journey of life to celebrate their success at making it through one more day.