A Remarkable Young Man – Let’s All Learn To Inspire Children
Last year when we came down to the coast, I met the most incredible young man. Gavin was thirteen last winter. He and his mother were sharing an apartment with his grandmother right across from our apartment. This blog post is a story about how to inspire children each and every day. The benefits will warm your heart long after you make an effort.
I was having a miserable time last year after a fall in London. We didn’t go out much, but being stuck in an apartment was not exactly my idea of a memorable vacation.
Gavin’s grandmother was a friend of ours from the previous year and offered to let Gavin come over and stay with our Shih Tzu pups so we could get out once in awhile. You see, one of the dogs is blind and is terrified to be left alone. We’re not sure why, because he was a rescue dog and was already blind and afraid when we adopted him from Shih Tzu Rescue of Central Wisconsin.
Gavin Impressed Us Immediately
The first time he came over to stay with the dogs, I was immediately impressed with his manners. “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” accompanied every sentence that came out of his mouth. My purpose wasn’t necessarily to inspire children; it was to treat them as I wish grownups treated me when I was young.
I’d made cookies that afternoon and left the plate out for him. We told him there was pop in the refrigerator and to help himself to anything he wanted out of there.
I belonged to the Clean Indie Reads Facebook group and ordered a book by one of the authors. It looked like a good fit for my granddaughter, and I like to read books before I give them to the grandkids. This one was a book I knew Gavin would love, so I wrapped it up and gave it to him for Easter.
I met his mom in the hallway one day, and she giggled as she told us about the previous Friday evening. Gavin went to his room much earlier than normal with the words, “I’m going to bed now; I have to get up and go to work early in the morning.” Did I say we paid him well too?
Inspire a Child Through A Love For Art
My husband and I decided to take a Saturday road trip one weekend. Gavin loved the dogs and was excited to be able to spend an entire day with them. I knew his mom and grandmother were right across the hall if he needed anything, but I was worried that it was going to be a long day for him.
Here on the coast I belong to an art group, so I always have plenty of supplies with me. I put together some paper, pictures, and transfer paper for him so he could practice drawing with the method I had taught him before we left. He’d never heard of such a thing before, but he anxiously watched as I demonstrated the technique.
I didn’t know if he wanted to do it, or if he was only trying to please his ’employer,’ but when we returned home late that afternoon, he had done a spectacular job of drawing the pictures I’d left.
He started to leave after we paid him, but he didn’t pick up his ‘supplies’ on the table.
“Gavin, these are yours. Here, son, take them with you and find more pictures to draw. You’re getting the hang of this, so don’t stop now.”
A New Home
Right before we headed north last year, Gavin and his family moved. It was an economic decision and a good one for them.
Before they left, Gavin knocked at my door and handed me a card. There was artwork he did on the front. I won’t share his personal note to me, but it left me breathless and in tears as he left.
What did I touch in his young heart? How does an old white-headed lady who speaks ‘northern’ inspire children to want to learn more?
Was it the book I gave him? Did he love cookies or puppies that much?
A New Year
I’ve missed Gavin more than I can begin to tell you this year. We’ve been here two months, and I feel like I’ve lost a favorite grandson.
I heard a knock at my door two days ago.
When I opened it, Gavin’s mom stood there. She handed me a sheet of paper that had her phone number and Gavin’s. (Gavin has a phone now?)
She beamed as she told me how well he’s doing in his new school.
I am delighted to hear he’s a natural at art and he loves his art teacher. She said he’s anxious to come back and see us.
I can’t believe he’s as tall as she is now. (She’s about 5’9″ tall). He’s grown like a weed this past year, and I can’t wait to see the young man again.
It’s Time We All Make the Effort to Inspire Children!
Let me make something very clear: I did nothing special for this child. No, I simply showed him the respect he deserved, and I encouraged him. We come from completely different backgrounds. Our skin is not the same color.
None of that matters. I fell in love with someone else’s grandson, and he enriched my life tremendously. In addition, I still have his note, and I will treasure it forever.
The only thing I did differently, is that I remembered what it was like to be young and overlooked by most of the adults around me. I swore I would never let that happen on my watch, and it didn’t.