Friday, December 21, 2007

Parenting is good

Sometimes I want to throttle him - like right now - as he purposely drags in feet through vocabulary. But Wednesday was different. He received an award. We didn't know it was coming. Nobody told us!

We were at the Christmas potluck. The first award went to two men, a ranger and a volunteer, who saved seven people from drowning in the lake last summer. The superintendent read the official report which was rather dry. He then shared with us the details that weren't included in the report. The boat had overturned. One adult and a child were still in the boat though it was barely above water and sinking quickly. The rest were in the water. The winds were blowing the tiny vessel and the people onto dangerous rocks that are in that area. It was during a storm. The lake can be mean during a storm. Did I mention it was at night? It was dark. Dark night. Have you walked along the beach in the dark of night? Even though you're safe onshore it's scary when you can hear the water, but you can't see it. It strikes a chord of preternatural fear in the human heart.

By the grace of God, the boating officer on duty had only minutes before taken on a long time volunteer on board who offered to patrol the lake with him. Without this volunteer who was highly experienced on the water, a single man would have had great difficulty doing the rescue and maneuvering the boat at the same time. So the call came in, S.O.S, precise location, and they rode full speed to that place on the lake. The eight year old girl was screaming hysterically. The others, those in the water, this is not in the report, were giving each other last rites in the water. They thought they were checking out of this world.

Our New Mexico Boating Officer and the other a long time volunteer, saved all seven people one at a time. That's a story with an awesome ending and that's what their award was for. Sometimes the rangers pull dead people out of the water which as you can imagine is traumatic. The rangers have to deal with it in their mind and heart afterwards and it's not an easy thing. It happens in a lake this big. Last year a 15 year old boy drowned in the lake. The rangers save lives when they can. They're trained to do so. But when they can't save a life the repercussions are real.

The second award went to our ten year old son. The badge in the frame is an official one. Normally, men and women must graduate from the police academy and work in law enforcement to receive this badge. It is an true honor to have this badge! Our son is not allowed to wear it, it would be unlawful, but he can display it. The super went all the way to the top to get approval for this. As far as we know he is the youngest volunteer in New Mexico, and the only Honorary Ranger in the state. He was bustin' with pride. We were too.

Yesterday at the school where he takes a class he gave a presentation about his award. It's his first presentation in front of anyone other than family. He did pretty well! This I love about home education.

Me, as a kid I dreaded "Sharing Time" or "Current Events" at school. I still get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach about Newsweek magazine because my mom had it delivered to our house so I could pick out news items for school sharing. Our son on the other hand informed me he was doing a presentation about his award the next day at school. Just like that. He practiced on us that evening and did it Thursday. Wow. And he showed off the plaque, a letter they wrote him last year selecting him as a volunteer, his official volunteer card, and he defined the word 'honorary' (that was his idea) and showed off the flyers and spreadsheets he created on his computer as part of his job.

I'm kind of proud of him.