Today was a day of celebration for my wife and I. We attended the Duke TIP ceremony in Little Rock. Our twins were both honored, as they were both invited to take the ACT exam this year as 7th graders as part of the Duke Talent Identification Program program. Only a very small percentage of 7th graders are invited and not all choose to take part, and while I recognize the “honor” was more the fact that the boys were invited at all, I am thrilled because it means at some level they have talents and abilities beyond what many other children do.
The award ceremony, sadly, was also a bit of a marketing opportunity for Duke TIP and the local university, though it was not too arm-twistingly painful. There was the requisite plug for the university and their programs, plugs for some associated websites and learning resources, and then a half hour’s worth of information about how to do a good job as parents of talented children. The session also provided some encouragement for us as parents, too, reinforcing our efforts to guide and monitor our boys progress and growth. It was actually quite helpful, all marketing aside, and made us realize that our need to help guide these boys was not misplaced or out of the norm.
We were more than ready when the award ceremony actually started, and it was especially nice since we got to see our kids on stage. Watching the children line up displays all of the usual sweetness you expect in a group of 13 year-olds: the shy ones, the awkward ones, the athletic ones, each of them slightly nervous in their own way, and all exceptional. Even though we are there just for our kids, we get to see the other children and parents, too. I recognized a number of parents from our community’s school and am not at all surprised to see them there. Most of the children at the ceremony have parents who are involved in the community, too, so it is not unusual that they pass along to those kids the desire to succeed and do their best.
One interesting likelihood is that the group of children in that room will become the next generation of leaders, stepping up as their parents step aside to make a difference, and that is especially pleasing to me. It also helps me realize how important it is that my wife and I continue to work on their development, and that we can’t let up. Parents run marathons, not sprints, and when I see that my little boys are now thirteen years old I have to recognize our race to grow responsible adults is probably almost half over. God, give us strength, we have lots left to do!