It’s that time when the kids wind down their school year. We have girls that are enjoying their last year at the elementary, the new intermediate school, the junior high, and one that is heading into her senior year. It’s kind of a year of endings, which as a parent, makes me pretty sad. For as much as having this many kids can weigh on us, I’d give just about anything to freeze them in time just as they are. But as you know very well, time marches on.
As Carie and I were watching the junior high ‘graduation’ ceremony last night, they began to hand out a few awards. Given the sheer number of kids at Perrysburg schools these days, we know the odds of any of our kids receiving one of these awards are very low but we’re happy to celebrate the kids who do. What a proud parenting moment that would be. One award in particular, resonated with me. It was the ‘Perseverance Award’. This wasn’t necessarily given to the top athlete, the best musician, or even the most impressive scholar; it was given to the kid who doesn’t give up, regardless of the challenges they may face. I thought to myself, that’s the award I want my kid to receive. That’s the attribute I’d most like to celebrate: the will to keep going even when things are hard.
Well, a funny thing happened this morning, the day after I had that reaction to the perseverance award; my daughter, Evelyn, won that award at her elementary school. It’s such a big deal that she’ll have her name on the wall at Fort Meigs Elementary permanently. And just typing that makes my eyes well up with tears. You see, Evelyn was born three months early, had many surgeries, a brain bleed, and was given very little chance to even survive at all [pause to wipe my eyes and blow my nose], yet here she is receiving recognition from her school that she STILL doesn’t give up in spite of the odds stacked against her. She deserved this award ten years ago when she fought for her life in that little plastic incubator in the NICU. She deserves that award now. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
And as odd as this may sound, I’m so proud of each of our clients who see their way through a decades-long career minefield, scrimping and saving in order to get to a dignified retirement. Evelyn’s recognition reminds me that all other things being equal, perseverance wins in the end. You get to retire someday not because someone handed you a huge financial gift or because you were necessarily the most gifted athlete, musician, or scholar (although you may be these things), but because you persevered. You made the decision to save and defer gratification for many years. That’s pretty incredible.
So while you may not receive a plaque on the wall of your school, company, or home for your perseverance, I hope you’ll reward yourself from time to time. Because you persevered, you retired (or will soon enough). That’s not normal, but who really wants to be normal anyway?
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®