I am a people watcher; a student of the human condition. I’ve been watching aging men fighting to retain their relevance in a world that seems to have moved beyond them. I have been watching young moms struggling to balance a visceral need to protect their children as they grow up and yet, letting them fail if need be. I’ve been watching dads who are wrestling with being tough, untouchable and still being in tune emotionally with their wives and children.
I love observing people; we are God’s best creation.
Lately, as in the last 11 or so years, I have been obsessed with watching the sometimes, seemingly subhuman persons called teenagers.
I have personally had a teenager living under my roof for little over a decade now. Sometimes I am beside myself with anxiety, sometimes belly hurting hilarity, sometimes frustration. Mostly I have experienced joy. Pure joy.
My kids have been far from perfect and yet, I have had this amazing front row seat to their growing up and I have found that they are some of the most remarkable people I know.
My sons have made me proud over the years as each of them have endeavored to be the best at whatever they were doing. They have left the teen years behind but now my 17 year old daughter continues this legacy.
Raeghan has just cemented her place in my heart as a hero. Four years ago she tried out for a sport neither my husband or I have ever really played. I hoped she’d have fun and learn the discipline of working hard.
She has exceeded my expectations these four years as she finishes her last high school state tennis tournament. She won’t win the “gold” as she battled for her place at 5th. But in my mind, truly a mother’s mind, she is a hero.
According to my “pages” dictionary a hero is a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities. All apply to my personal hero (and many of her teammates) but her noble qualities stand out to me this day.
My daughter is my new wildly applauded hero because she played like the champion you want to take home with you. Actually, she played the game like she lives. Raeghan played like:
Pursuing your dreams is hard work
Nothing prepares you like day in and day out discipline.
Blisters hurt but the game goes on (she only has 9 on her feet).
Gutsy determination draws admirers.
Honor is more valuable than winning.
Godly grace is always winsome.
Kindness trumps victory.
The final score is not the end of the story.
Right now Raeghan is sporting an aching back and feet that have walked a bit easier in the past but she has lived and played this day with excellence. After the match, while she met her opponent at the net the girl’s parents came to hug me. Her dad looked me in the eye and said, “She’s a great competitor. She’s a class act all the way.”
It’s true and that’s why she is my high school hero. (This column is sponsored by Larry and Linda Kloster)