Climbing a challenging mountain one step at a time


I look in my son’s room and find him sitting one leg scrunched underneath him, the other hanging from his chair, pouring over his computer screen and a nearby tablet. He’s been working on his homework for much of the weekend. As a junior, he’s got a heavy load with Pre-Calculus and two AP classes, not to mention English and Physics. 

I walk into his room and tell him to take a break. I suggest that he might even want to think about taking a sick day (short-hand in our house for a mental health day), but he waves me off. He’s annoyed with me for breaking his concentration. He says he’ll fall too far behind if he takes off and that he’ll take a break from his homework in a little while, he needs to get a few more problems done. 

Hotel California

I leave and can’t help but remember myself at his age. Like him I had a busy schedule. I ran cross country and track and constantly felt like I was crawling my way up a mountain. For every two steps forward, I’d inevitably get more homework and take a step back. I could never make head-way. Math and Physics were my downfall. I would regularly bring home a mountain of homework for both classes and could never really catch-up. 

I would turn on my cassette player and turn on the Eagles Live Album that I had managed to pilfer from my oldest brother. I would play the cassette over and over, listening to the group’s hit songs, Hotel California, Take it to the Limit and Desperado, until midnight and then have to get up for school before six to grab a piece of toast and make the bus. 

Stressed to the max

In my weakest moments, I remember worrying that I would never survive. I feared that I would flunk out, never make it to college, bring shame to my family, and be a loser the rest of my life. As you can tell, I was a little prone to exaggeration. 

To help bring some perspective to my life, I would try to peer into the future. I would ask myself: Would getting a wrong answer on my Pre-Calc or Physics test matter ten years from now? Would skipping one night’s homework make me a loser? I can tell you without a doubt, since I’ve long passed the ten year mark, I still don’t really care about either of the two subjects. God never gave me much of a love for Math or Science, but I’m proud that I put in the effort and hard work. I’m proud that I gave it my best shot. 

My son’s shoes

My son is still figuring out what he wants to do with his life and he has lots of time. I’m careful to make sure he knows that I’m proud of him for being a self-motivator and putting in the effort to make something of himself. 

I’m proud of him for giving his best shot. 

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