When I was in the third grade my class was given a history assignment to do a project about different native american tribes. My dad helped me carefully research the Algonquin tribe, complete with a professionally bound ten page double-spaced report that was attentively reviewed for spelling and grammar errors; a handmade replica of an Algonquin painted clay pot; a to-scale shoebox diorama of a tribal village that featured various 17th century style houses, a forest, a stream, and tiny painted clay figurines wrapped in miniature burlap clothes to represent the villagers. My dad had mad skills in the details department. He had the school project acheivement on lock down.
I remember my dad working alongside me on that project, spending his extra time helping me read through the encyclopedia because this was before the internet existed. Gosh, I’m old. When the class project was turned in my dad volunteered to bring in some artifacts that he had collected over the years, like various arrowheads for the class to see. I probably didn’t realize how awesome that was to have a parent so hands-on or how lucky I was to have parents that cared enough to work on school projects with me.
There was a boy in my class who didn’t do the assignment. I think his name was Anthony. I don’t know the circumstances about why not, or why no one checked his red homework folder to make sure he did it. All the other kids in class turned in some form of the project, but he didn’t. I remember sitting in class at my desk and seeing our teacher come over to Anthony’s desk and talk privately with him. The teacher was really sweet that way or making kids feel safe and special. A few minutes later after they were done she brought over some materials for him, a red box, some popcicle sticks, brown construction paper, string, and craft glue. It wasn’t much, but a few hours later Anthony had finished a traditional native american style house.
Still to this day that memory remains fresh in my mind and I’m even more thankful that had people in my life that made sure I was successful and who supported me even from a very early age so I never had to be like Anthony. I always had projects completed, shoes on my feet, a big warm coat in the winter, and food on the table. You don’t realize what a blessing that is, and I am thankful that I’ve never had to put my children in the position to be without. Most parents do everything they can, they do their very best to not fail their kids.
I’m not good at everything, frankly there is a lot I’m pretty awful at, actually. But I’m not going to fail you, Nolan, Leah, and Huck. I’ve got pretty amazing people to immulate and we all just want the very best for each of you.