When Jordi told me she wanted to save up for a laptop, out loud I said, “Great idea!” and to myself I said, “No way. It’s too expensive. She’ll never save for that long.”
Jordi was 10 at the time with no regular source of income, outside birthday presents, which just don’t add up that quickly. 2 days ago, she emptied her savings account and took it all to Best Buy with her daddy. She hasn’t put that laptop down since.
For 2 and a half years, she squirrelled away every dime that came her way. She collected pecans up and down the neighborhood to sell. She babysat. She asked for money for her birthday. She even received several donations from kind friends who thought it was really adorable that this little girl was saving for such a big project. In all that time, she released money only for three things. Once she bought herself a pair of pants ($6). Once she bought her big brother a present ($15). And she put money in the collection plate at church (I never asked how much).
And now, she carries around with her a serious piece of hardware (daddy is a computer geek and wouldn’t let her buy cheap junk). She’s listening to audio books, downloading games, and emailing me pictures taken with her built in webcam. And she knows that delayed gratification is the very best kind.
How do you choose your heroes? Do you pick someone who resembles you? Someone you think you just might grow up to be like? Someone who does what you could never do? Surely, it’s someone who excels at something you admire.
Here’s a hint about one of mine. I’m standing next to him in this photo. Last week, we got a phone call and dropped everything to rush out and meet a hero. We rearranged our schedule a bit more to see him again the next day and collect autographs. Not a rock star or an athlete. We’re a little too nerdy for that. 🙂 He’s an author, a former teacher, and someone who inspires kids to learn. My kind of guy!
I indulged in a rare moment of hero worship and actually asked him to sign my t shirt and take a picture.
Mr. Riordan came to Wichita Falls to speak at several local public schools (we’d have driven much further for this opportunity!). A few phone calls later, the homeschool community was graciously invited to attend the assemblies and listen to him speak.
Sure, this guy has impressive credentials (how many books on the best seller list? and two major motion pictures being made of his books simultaneously, one by Steven Spielberg and one by Dreamworks? yeah, that’s big time).
But I’ll tell you what impressed me the most. Why he remains my hero.
During each of the assemblies we attended, Mr. Riordan (or Rick, now that we’re such close buddies, we should be on a first name basis) gave the kids plenty of chances to talk to him and ask him questions. And he looked each kid in the eye and answered their question as though they were valuable. He treated all the kids with respect. He graciously agreed to autograph everything we shoved his way (and my kids took their entire book series, some duplicates, t shirts, and even a bandana). He seems to genuinely like kids.
That’s something I admire.
This is my team. What a great bunch of kids! Our homeschool robot team (Maniacs Attempting Robot Science) took third place in the BEST award with the North Texas BEST hub. I just think they’re the neatest, smartest kids in the universe. And I’m not biased just because I gave birth to three of them. 🙂
The BEST project is one of the highlights of the year, with its intense focus and interdisciplinary benefits. Plus, robots are just cool.
It starts here, in the Battle of the Labyrinth, reading the story…
Then we move here, becoming part of the story, living the adventure of Camp Halfblood…
And the crowning moment, meeting the creator of the story, Rick Riordan!