Lasting Impressions (The Story of Grant)

Quick housekeeping note:  The $50 check is in the mail to St. Joseph Children’s Home.  Thanks to all who competed in my “hits” contest. 

Today’s behavior blog is about a high school senior in Louisville. KY.  I don’t want to embarrass him in any way so I’ll call him “Grant” and not tell you where he goes to school.  Grant is from a high school in Louisville, KY. which overall is not doing very well.  By that I mean under 50% of the students who graduate are considered ready for college.  He’s a nice guy but not someone who I regularly talk to.  Last week though he sat beside me while my son was playing tennis and instantly engaged me.  Grant is a clean cut African American of average size. I can tell you in all honesty I learned a lot more from him than he did from me in the 45 minutes we talked.

The reason you are going to “meet” Grant is because he’s someone who I believe is going places in life and has some interesting insights.  I’ll tell you several things about him in this blog but it’s his behaviors and attitudes about his high school surroundings that struck me the most.   If your child isn’t going to the best school in the world or if they are underachieving for whatever reason, they might be able to learn from Grant as well.

One of the things that got my attention about Grant was that he scored a 30 on his ACT’s (out of 36).  I went to one of the best private high schools in the state of Kentucky and I didn’t do as well as Grant.  How in the world did he do so much better than me and most everyone I know?  What were the secrets?

When asking Grant about his success, he said he had a fear of letting himself down.  Grant does not settle for mediocrity.  For example, on the morning of his ACT, he wasn’t able to eat breakfast.  He’s convinced he can do better by making that one adjustment. 

Grant spoke quite a bit about his family.  It’s worth noting his “healthy fear” of his father.  His mother and grandmother were also spoken of highly. Grant’s family also seems important in the respect that he has older cousins he looks up to.  They aren’t able to get together as much as he would like but he could call any of them and they would be right there for him. 

Success in the classroom is really important to Grant as well.  He said when he enters a classroom, it’s “go time.”  I normally expect this type of talk from athletes before a contest.  Hearing that phrase from a student was interesting to me.  Grant also talked about “separating work from play.”  I had the impression he goofed off on occasion in the hallway at his school.  In the classroom though, it was all business.  Finally, he said he liked “to have his mind stimulated.”  That implies to me that Grant has some engaging teachers who are able to accomplish this.  He even mentioned a philosophy teacher with tatoos but always dressed well.  According to Grant, this particular teacher “makes me think.”

When asking Grant about the problems at his school, he had some interesting insights as well.  He talked about the environment at school.  Specifically, if you were in the wrong environment at school, that could be trouble.  The right environment I assumed would lead to greater success.  He also said that he “liked to learn from all.”   He actually thought the environment held greater weight on the subject of problems at his school versus the parents of the students or the school itself.  Though Grant and I don’t see completely eye to eye on this issue, the fact is he is in the trenches every day. 

Grant doesn’t know where he wants to go to college yet but he wants to “go somewhere I’ll blossom- not just grow.”  What do you think the odds are Grant will accomplish this goal?  I’m betting the odds are high.

Grant strikes me as the kind of person who dictates his environment versus letting the environment dictate him.  While I realize all of our children are not going to be exactly like Grant, that’s OK.  Cameron (my six year old) is far too young to learn all the lessons Grant could teach him.  Regardless, the one lesson I want Cameron to work on is separating work from play at school.  It’s a goal that he can accomplish (for his age) and one that will serve him well over time.

Grant is an inspiring young man to me.  I believe we, as parents, can learn from Grant and apply his positive lessons to our children.  Although it wasn’t his intent, I believe Grant made me a better parent today.  For that, I thank him. 

There will not be a question/answer blog this Friday.  It’s Christmas Eve and I am going to spend all the time I can with my family. I will check in again Monday with an education blog.  Until then, Merry Christmas to you and all you love.    

Clay

 

5 comments

  1. Mari says:

    This is a great post, thank you.

  2. Lauren says:

    This was fantastic! Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. Danielle says:

    What a great story. Grant shouldn't have any problem getting into college with and ACT score like that. If he can get it higher he will probably be able to get an academic scholarship and if his family has a lower income then he will qualify for pell grants and work study to make up the difference. As long as Grant keeps working hard there is no reason he shouldn't get into his school of choice.

  4. Lesa says:

    Great story! I'm going to repost it because I think it needs to be read by many others to be inspired and consider what we can do today to better influence our kids.

  5. Sandie Ahl says:

    Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!