One stood in front of a crowd of people and said words born from a compassionate heart. One stared at a laptop screen today, said no more and of his own volition, removed people from social media who were harming him. One is embarking on a new adventure called high school and the other is embarking on a new adventure of freedom from bullying disguised as humor and reasonable conversation.
I think back to when the mother of the young man and I were in high school. I do not know that we could have delivered impassioned speeches that moved people and drawn firm boundaries that respected our dignity. I know for certain we were not well equipped to handle the latter. Yet today, a 13 and a 15 year old, both fine young men of character, did those things.
When my son was 13 he sat on a panel on live television and stood his ground regarding bullying. He actually corrected the record to a high school principle as to what bullying is and is not and made fearless and astute suggestions as to what could be done better to address the issue. He stunned a town when he did that. I know that the other young man has stunned adults with his knowledge and interests in community service and robotics. Some people would tell us that they are going to go far in this world and do great and wonderful things. Most of these well meaning people are referring to vocations, career paths and tax brackets. That may happen. However, we live in a world where being the best and the brightest with the highest GPA and solid work ethic is not a promise of success.
Regardless of that. They will go far in this world. They will do it because they care about other human beings. They would never allow a joke that hurt another to stand and if they were the one telling the joke and learned that it hurt another human being, as opposed to mansplaining that humor is subjective, they would apologize and listen and think with a compassionate heart. They have both already shown an understanding and compassion for human frailty and suffering. They understand the dignity of others being more essential to character than defense of one's actions.
They are sensitive, but not weak. They are compassionate, but have a strong sense of self. They are brave because they face their fears. They are kind and that makes them victors in a world of settlers who settle for good enough.
Our children are amazing. They have already accomplished things we could not have at their age and they have already shown more character and understanding of what matters than a lot of adults. Their journeys are only beginning. Come to think of it, so are ours. That is a story for another time. For today, know this:
Our children are amazing.