Today is Independence Day, truly one of my favorite holidays, not because of the food and the fireworks, but because of what it means. As a history junkie, the American Revolution has always been one of my favorite eras to study and reflect upon and it astounds me, still, at the incredible talent we had in Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abigail Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and many, many more. There are times when I wonder when we'll ever see such people with such character again.
And then Hubby and I ran into Solid Boy and his mother last night at Borders and I realize that the youth of today aren't all shallow, self-centered, videogame junkies.
I had Solid Boy in my second year of teaching, before I started this blog. He was in my homeroom, and this kid had, from the start, character. He was, and still is, extremely popular with his classmates (the girls adore him), and while he could have turned into a raving egomaniac with all the attention he received, he never has. I remember how considerate he was of everyone, even the decidedly unpopular students. If someone had a jammed locker, he was there to help. If someone was getting picked on, he was there to stop it. He was a friend to everyone and that is so rare to see in a seventh grader.
He wasn't the best of students, although he was certainly capable. That, thankfully, has changed, as he informed me last night. He's now a solid A student, is in the AVID program, is playing football, in ROTC, and looking at either West Point, VMI or the Citadel for college. Like his father, he wants to make the military his career, because, as he says, "this country has done so much for me and my family and I feel the need to serve."
Solid Boy is, as he puts it, "Half Korean and Half Hillbilly". His father was a special forces soldier, killed in Afghanistan, and his mother, now an American citizen, was a girl he met in Korea. I got to know his mom really well during football (we always sat together) and I was always impressed at what a great job she did with her two kids and how she held it all together after her husband was killed. The special forces community saw that she had whatever she needed. She had an internal strength that helped.
So last night, when I saw these two again, it made me realize how much I'm glad that we have Americans like them in our world.
Happy Birthday America!
And you go, Solid Boy!