Monday, January 15, 2007

Bachelor of Brilliance and Bravery

For Alex

One of my nephews when he was at the age of three amused himself by taking appliances apart and putting it back together. At four, he moved on to cars and tractors. At five, my sister let him go with this father during hunting season and she would later learn to the bars when it was not.

At six, he was labeled learning disabled at school because he was not like the other kids in class. He took extra time to do his work in school when it came to reading, solving math problems, and writing. He needed medication to help him focus. He also had behavior issues according to people where he lived. He was banned from one of three stores in town and he had a reputation for being a "hot head."

Fortunately, one of his teachers recognized a brilliance and bravery in him not present in any other kid in town. While still in elementary school he would go on to learn the things of his father's trade of falling trees, more hunting, and more drinking. While under my sister's roof, he learned how to share responsibilities within his family and how to communicate his feelings rather than keeping them inside. In high school, his class had enough kids to play football so they did. He was pretty good.

Deciding what college to attend was difficult because he would still need help with the reading, writing, and solving problems although he no longer needed the medication. He had considered a trade school in Arizona that offered car mechanics so he could become specialized, but he learned abut homesickeness after volunteering with the fire service in the summer of his junior year. So he settled on a small colleges about 3 hours north where his brother was in his second year studying to be a teacher.

When he graduated from high school, he did it with special peer and teacher recognition and honors. Right afterward, he was hired by the fire service which would take him to California, Utah, Arizona, and Washington so he could save for college or trade school. He met people from all over the United States. My sister tells me now he is struggling again and considering to leave the college. He had met a girl who lives three hours south my sister's town. He told her he had fallen in love and may move to her town. He told her he will find a job working on cars, attend a trade school there, and continue fighting fires when he is called for duty. I couldn't be more happy for him.

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