Learning about the “little blue pill” has indeed changed my life. You’re never too old to have a new outlook or to appreciate things more. When these things happen, I consider them gifts and am thankful.
Our children can be challenges. They break our hearts, bring us joy, make us pull our hair out and cry. They can often do all of these things before they leave for school in the morning.
Having three teenagers, two of them girls, I’m just understanding and appreciating this now more than ever.
My oldest is a senior in high school who has spent the last few months traveling with either all of us or just her mother visiting colleges and trying to decide where she would like to apply.
You would think that since I’m a mathematician and have taught college math courses for 15 years that they would ask me for help often. The middle one likes my explanations, the younger one hasn’t needed my explanations yet and the oldest one just doesn’t ask.
She has taken the advanced math classes and has even had some struggles, but still doesn’t ask. It bothers me a little; I attribute it to being stubborn and wanting to do things herself. She comes by this honestly. Over the years most of us learn to ask when we need help with our challenges.
With all those applications come requirements for essays dealing with various questions designed to help the applicant tell a little more about themselves.
Again my daughter didn’t want me anywhere around her essays. She wanted them to be in “her voice.” I wasn’t trying to write her essays, her mother and I just wanted to make sure that they were getting done.
Honestly, I just wanted to see what she had to say.
Finally she broke down and let me read them.
There is a common essay for the common application and then there are all of these other essays some colleges require that pose various questions. They might ask you about the most influential person in your life, the one thing that has changed your life or about your extracurricular activities.
Some colleges take just the common application essay and others require more essays varying in length. They give you a word count and say that it either must exceed or not exceed a number of words.
In reading through my daughter’s essays I got to one that had to be less than 150 words and had to describe something she did this past summer. It was for a school that I am confident none of her senior classmates are applying to attend. It’s a little different, but a wonderful school.
Telling anything with 150 words or less is very difficult for me. I tend to get a little longwinded.
My daughter did it well.
The experience she wrote about had to do with a mission trip she went on to Nicaragua this past summer with her church youth group. Again, I didn’t know that much about it. We had talked a little about it, but really not that many specifics. Trying to get specifics out of a teenager can be difficult.
Our church sends a group of students to Nicaragua each summer to work at an orphanage. We had always been hesitant to let her go, but promised her we would let her the summer before her senior year in high school.
She told about the children scavenging in the dump for food and clothing. She told about the smells and looking into the children’s eyes.
She told about the child prostitution and seeing children fighting to survive. The children scraped what money they could earn together to buy a “blue drug.” I’m not sure if it was a “little blue pill” or not. I didn’t ask. It really doesn’t matter. The story pertaining to it has changed my daughter (and me) for the better.
They bought the blue drug because it kept them from being hungry and it was a hallucinogen. Being a child, living in a dump, fighting to survive… What would you do?
These were horrific things for a child to see - for my child to see. She got to come home, bringing with her an experience you have to see, smell and hold to understand. Those children wake up day after day in the same place. They do it with hope in their eyes. I don't know. I just don't know.
My daughter told of these conditions, then told about a wonderful little girl she met. She gave the little girl’s name; she talked about the little girl living and “working” in the dump. Then she told about reading to her while she sat in her lap attentively.
I can’t even tell you about it in less than 150 words.
Why do I cry? I cry for the little girl and all of those children living in the dump. I cry for what it has shown my daughter.
Our children are worried about the best clothes, newest iPod, cutest car, fanciest cell phone, not being skinny, having acne, wearing glasses, video games and you know all the "things."
I have no trouble telling you that I cry when I see my daughter’s words telling the story of reading to a little girl sitting in her lap in an orphanage in a dump in Nicaragua.
I will even share the five words that get me every time.
“Her favorite color was pink.”
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Tell 27 people you love them today; something good will happen.
I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs, and being a Daddy.