I started using Christopher's laptop in place of mine recently because it works better and is newer. Seeing his sit on his desk seemed a shame to me because he was on it all the time. I found it depressing that it sat there cold and unattended so I swiped it in place of my old dinosaur. It felt good to see it used again and at the same time keep him close.
Sorting through his documents, I felt like I hit the lottery last night when I came across some of the essays he wrote for school. Many of the papers I read were new to me even though some of them dated back two, three, four years. I never got involved in Christopher's high school homework unless he needed help. He knew I was available to him and there were times we worked on projects together but he was really self-sufficient and did his own thing. He wrote and turned in essays and term papers that I didn't know about. Lucky me to find these documents now! I thought I'd share one here. I didn't touch it; this is it just as he gave it to his teacher. I have no idea what grade he got, hopefully a good one!
I found it interesting that yesterday I was saying I wished I had more time to teach him. Today I'm feeling that much more confident that he was on a great path and even though he was a bit of a knucklehead on any given day, he had a great head on his shoulders with a clear focus and a kind heart. He spoke right out to all of us! Here's his essay entitled "Your World" from a little over a year ago:
My world was brought to life on January 9th, 1995, in a gigantic hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. The first thing I did when I entered this world, or as my parents tell me, was blow bubbles in the doctors face, I’m sure my parents were proud of me. I didn’t live in Little Rock for too long, my family and I moved to New York before I was one year old and I’ve lived here ever sense. Once arriving at Albany Airport for the first time in Upstate New York, and breathing in the suburban air, I’m sure I knew I’d like it here much better than in Arkansas, even though I wasn’t even one year old. As I was growing up, I began to notice one thing I really started to grow a passion for, and that was football.
I remember being about five or six years of age sitting in my living room with my Dad watching the NFL every Sunday, it was what I looked forward to each week. Once I turned six years old, I remember my Dad telling me on my birthday that I would be able to start playing flag football once the Fall season came around, I’ll never forget the feeling I had that day. Year after year my Dad would bring me to my Jr. Plainsmen games on Saturdays or Sundays. Flag football was fun and all, but once I was old enough to play tackle football, you could say I was more than excited. Growing up always watching players in the NFL knock each other around always motivated me to be the best, and one day maybe even play there. I’ve always been a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and my dream was to play as a Tight End for them and to be number 88, my lucky number. Some of my best friends that I’ve known for my whole life I met through football. It may only be a sport, but it can also build many friendships. My entire bedroom is devoted to my high school football career, I have huge posters, framed pictures, trophies, plaques, and many different awards for my contributions to my team. Football has been a big part of my life, but it is definitely not all I care about.
In my “perfect world”, the only thing I see is my friends and family, they mean the world to me. My amazing parents have raised me in a way which I plan on doing with my own kids one day. They were never too strict with me, but making the right decisions and never being afraid to ask for help on something were two big things they always emphasized towards me. Having parents who are always there for you is one thing I think most teenage kids don’t realize or respect. Always hearing stories at school about kids “cursing out” their parents upsets me because none of them really understand how lucky they are having someone to feed them and take care of them. Also, having the right friends who care about you and want to see you successful in life only makes things easier. One good thing about high school is being able to see all your friends almost every day, you can usually rely on them to help you out if you’ve been having a bad day. The biggest help a guy like me could ask for would have to be having the best girlfriend any guy could ask for too. Anyone would agree with me when I say that having that one special person in your life only makes each day you live just a little bit more meaningful. Sometimes there is just something that’s bugging you and you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone other than your boyfriend/girlfriend, it’s a real bonus that most people take advantage of. I’m glad to say I found one extremely special girl that I am proud to call mine, and I know she will always be there for me whenever I need to get something off my chest, having people like this is one good change that our world has taken on in the last couple of decades.
So far I have touched on many of the good things in our world today, but nothing is ever perfect. As I stated earlier, the thing that bugs me the most with kids of this generation is the way they treat their parents. People in high schools, especially teachers who listen to kids conversations, can vouch for me when I say that not many kids really respect everything they have. Some of the things I hear said in my school really bugs me, I’m sure all the kid’s parents ever want from them is a simple “thanks you” or an “I love you” before they go to bed, it’s not too much to ask from someone. Kids these days also disrespect others by using their “cool” racial slurs and slang words. I’m not sure if it’s like this everywhere but I have definitely noticed a lot of actions like this occurring in my town.
My current town I live in, Clifton Park, New York, maybe has a few unfavorable qualities to some people, but it is actually a great area to live in. There are more than enough ways to entertain yourself around here, for example, there are lots of restaurants to eat at, movie theatres to go to, and plenty of places to shop. Something I believe more than enough people do around here is attend our high school football games every Friday night during the fall season. Having the support of not just our school, but the whole community is something not a lot of high school football players can say about where they live. This year, our team made it all the way to Kingston, New York for the state semi-final game, where unfortunately we lost 16-6. One thing I learned from this loss was that even though we didn’t win we still had the support of all our fans, who clapped for what seemed like an hour even after we walked off the field with our heads all drooped to the ground. The main idea of this story is to show that even if you don’t know it, there will always be people there for you to pat you on the back and give you a boost of confidence when you need it.
Our world we live in now, and that we lived in many years ago as I grew up, has changed a significant amount for the better. People haven’t always been there for others, which makes living just that much harder, it’s always nice to know you have someone’s shoulder to cry on if you get in a bad situation. Having friends and family who care about you is the main thing someone can ask for though, it makes the world a better place to live in. The world I see through my eyes every day is slowly but surely getting better. You will always have friends and family to turn to when you have a problem, and as long as the NFL doesn’t stop, I think I will be one happy camper. I know what I see as my “perfect” world, but the real question is, what do you see?
I find Chris's insight refreshing. He answers some of my questions. I asked Bailey the other day what Chris thought of me. I figured me must have had vent sessions with her about his parents! That would be normal for a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. They let off steam to each other when they feel pressure. Bailey said he loved me and that he thought I was cool. She also told me he knew how to get me to say "yes" to things - but I was already aware of that! I didn't hold him back very often.
Still, it's nice reading his words (I can hear his voice as I do!) and hearing his thoughts laid out on paper. God gave me a really great gift today in stumbling onto these documents! They're like new treasures. I'm so happy to have them. I'll share more at a later date. Hope you liked his essay.
Thank you for reading.