Character Kid Award

One of the joys of being a grandmother, a Yaya, is being present when my grandchildren are recognized for accomplishments. I’ve had the honor of being in the audience for all five of my grandkids at various times, as they receive awards or special recognition. I believe it is important to be a witness to their young lives, so they know that I am there, cheering them on. 

Character Kid Award
This afternoon, I was in the audience at my grandson’s elementary school award assembly, as a witness to Oliver’s life. At Steadley, the children adopt a character word for each month, and memorize a quote about it. They put that character quality into practice during the month as well. January’s character word was Perseverance. 

Character Kid Award

The teachers in each grade select students from their classrooms who best demonstrate the month’s character word. Oliver was selected by his teacher for the award. The children don’t know who has been chosen, until the assembly. I was joined in the auditorium by Greg, and my son Nate and daughter-in-law Megan, all there as Team Oliver. 

Character Kid Award
Character Kid Award
The assembly was presided over by Dr. Barlow, the school principal. Dr. Barlow is the most inspiring and engaging principal I have ever met. His love for others is evident. He interacts with the kids, leading them in fun songs, and asking pop questions. To hear several hundred children recite the Preamble to the US Constitution together, under his direction, is always deeply moving. All assemblies at Steadley begin thus. 

Before the awards were handed out, the school bus drivers were recognized. What an amazing tribute! I don’t believe I have ever seen bus drivers so cheerfully and sincerely thanked for their devotion and dedication. It was during this segment of the assembly that I realized that recognition is a powerful way to make life a little more tender for others. 

Character Kid Award
There was robust clapping and cheering as each child’s name was announced for the Character Kid awards. I was thrilled for Oliver. This third grader has changed so much in the last year. He still loves for me to time him as he rides his bike, and when he’s tired he enjoys snuggling up under his favorite blanket. 

However, I see the young man emerging. I appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit and his big ideas. I  love listening to him share those dreams and watching as he comes more and more into who he is created to be. Perseverance? Yes, this boy can be persistent in going after what he wants. 

Character Kid Award

When children are toddlers, and forming a sense of self, they love to have an audience. “Watch me!” they call out, “Look at me!” What they are really saying is see me. It is an invitation to appreciate who they are and what they can do. Oh, they may not fully realize that, but it’s what we all long for, to be seen, and appreciated. 

I am applauding and cheering and being a witness, for my children and grandchildren. Way to challenge yourself, Oliver, and persevere. I am so wonderfully proud of you. And I will always be watching. 

Character Kid Award

Day 347: Adriel’s Graduation and Pinning

Adriel graduates from nursing school auditorium

I have been to many graduations, from junior high school level to college, and had the pleasure of attending my son’s police academy graduation. I have never attended a nursing graduates pinning ceremony, until today. For my first, I attended my younger daughter’s graduation and pinning ceremony.

This has been a long and arduous journey for my youngest child. Adriel entered college as a 17 year old. She chose a path in nursing several years before that when she began volunteering at the hospital as a young teen. It was a wise move for a girl who wanted to see if nursing was compatible with who she was becoming. This was a decision that surprised me initially. As I’ve shared previously, Adriel gagged as a very young girl if I said the word “snot” in her proximity. And if someone actually sneezed in her presence and produced snot….well, I’d have a mess to clean up, her stomach was so sensitive.

There were hints, though, as she grew older, that that sensitivity was lessening. I have this precious picture of her, at the age of four, reclined on my desk, studying a cow’s eyeball as it was cupped in her hand. She was fascinated. In our homeschool studies, she was the child who eagerly dissected frogs, worms and fish, without a hint of gagging. The other kids gladly passed on their dissecting specimens to her.

Adriel graduates from nursing school early years

The volunteering at Freeman Hospital suited her well. She showed up once a week for years, delivering flowers, taking patients to their rooms, soothing people with her calm yet practical form of compassion. Those years of experience were a green light for her, and after she graduated from high school, she earnestly began pursing her dream of becoming a nurse.

Life has presented challenges as she journeyed toward her goal. My now grown girl worked full time and put herself through college, one semester at a time. Her dad and I offered some financial support, but Adriel handled this expense herself for the most part. She completed the prerequisites, one by one, with an eye toward applying to the nursing program. This is not an easy feat, being accepted into nursing school. Overall grades have to be at a certain level. Required classes have to be taken with a high grade obtained. And there are many other requirements. Adriel never wavered from what she wanted. She always researched what she needed to do and then set about bringing her plan into reality, one step at a time. Adriel received her Certified Nursing Assistant certification and began working as a nurse tech at Freeman Hospital as she continued her education.

The day she was accepted into Crowder College’s nursing program was a huge accomplishment. And then the difficult part really began. Nursing school is hard! The classes, the amount of studying, the clinicals, the days spent meeting the stringent requirements while working nights at the hospital every weekend took physical and mental endurance. I learned so much from my daughter, watching her persist, watching her work hard, watching her as she refused to allow challenges to get in the way of her plans. So many would have given up. So many would have said it was too hard.

Today was the culmination of years of studying, working, learning and growing. Adriel graduated this morning from Crowder College with an Associate of Science, Nursing degree. That in itself was a thrilling moment, watching her in her black cap and gown, with the white banner for nursing, as she walked across the stage to receive her degree. The teary moment came after lunch. With 17 family members and friends present, Adriel received her nurse’s pin in the pinning ceremony. Her dad, Greg, and I had the honor of meeting her on stage to actually pin the button to her white scrub top. What an emotional moment! I was filled with pride and joy and a sense of gratitude to see this part completed.

Adriel graduates from nursing school

As I was carefully fastening the pin to Adriel’s shirt, her words of thanks were being read by a staff member. I was so focused on the pinning, and on hugging and kissing Adriel, that I missed most of what Adriel had written. I am so thankful for her friend, Sara, who captured the moment on video. I got to listen after the ceremony, and be teary eyed all over again.

Adriel graduates from nursing school white scrubs

Next month, Adriel will take her Board Exams. I have no doubt at all that she will fly through this part. And then my sweet girl will be a Registered Nurse, with many career opportunities ahead of her. Congratulations, Adriel! No one deserves this more than you. I love you so much!

Adriel graduates from nursing school pinning