Monday, February 25, 2013

Another Letter of Recommendation

Since I posted son # 2's Eagle Scout recommendation letter here, I thought I would pull out son # 1's and add it. The Eagle Committee Chairwoman told me at the time that it was the best one she'd ever read:

Eagle Scout Recommendation for Ben

When we look around at all the young men that we know, there are always those that stand out.  They are accomplished, talented, wonderful young men.  Everyone is always pointing to them as examples and guiding lights for the other young men around them.

Well, Ben is not one of those fortunate young men.  He has struggled with challenges his entire life.  As a young elementary student he was diagnosed with a learning disability.  He could still not read at the beginning of third grade.  Sheer will, determination, and the help of loving teachers and a (sometimes) patient mother got him through that hardship.  Unfortunately, he also suffered from a profound lack of fine motor skills, which led to extremely bad handwriting and not a lot of success in athletics on the playground. Due to the stigmatism of those years, he had problems with developing friendships.  He always seemed to be the odd one out.  It is a hard thing to feel like you have no one to invite over to your house.  However, he stuck it through those years and kept on going.

As he entered junior high, he continued to struggle.  He was the butt of many classroom jokes and ridicule.  He developed a strong thick skin which was actually contrary to his original loving nature as a child.  He became angry and hard to manage, and it only continued to get worse and worse.  Finally, we as his parents felt that there was something more to this than just teenage angst.  We took him for a professional analysis.

The diagnosis was not good.  Ben suffered from Bipolar disorder and suspected Aspergers.  His world was spiraling out of control.  He experienced bouts of euphoria and very little sleep followed by episodes of depression and suicidal thoughts.  If this wasn’t bad enough, he also suffered from ADD, which was not treatable while he was on the medication for Bipolar.

Amazingly enough, throughout all of these problems, many of which were overwhelming even to his adult parents, Ben continued to try to do his best.  And honestly, sometimes his best is not anywhere near as good as the best that some of those more fortunate young men seem to achieve almost without effort.  However, Ben’s best, although it may be seem a more paltry offering, is truly an effort born of more desire, will, and sheer gumption than anyone will ever know.  Every little success he has ever had has been born of years of failure.  Every C and B has been a triumph over adversity that his teachers do not even begin to understand.

As we look back on our son’s mighty struggles and the few accolades that he has to show for them, we feel that he has truly been an example in our lives of the importance of doing your best, even when it seems like it doesn’t change anything or that it doesn’t make much of a difference.  Ben will never be the star quarterback or the homecoming king.  In fact, sometimes we wonder if he will graduate from high school.  But the one thing that we don’t wonder about is whether or not he is doing the best that he can.  Because we know that in his own quiet, unheralded, uniquely Ben way, he is, and for that, he is a hero and worthy of this Eagle Scout Award in our eyes.

Mom and Dad

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