I saw a post my older son left on facebook yesterday. He was coming home from a night of clubbing (probably pretty hamshammered, although it was not mentioned in the post), and he saw that someone had ripped all the flowers out of the garden in front of his apartment building and thrown them on the sidewalk. So, in the middle of the night, in downtown Toronto, the lad lovingly replanted them all.
Last summer, I took him and his “little” brother out for a big Greek lunch on the Danforth. He couldn’t finish his, so he had it boxed up to go. On the way back to the car, he stopped to talk to a woman who was sitting on the curb, down on her luck. He didn’t have any money to give her, but he gave her his lunch. Now, this is a boy who doesn’t have a lot of means. That was going to be his dinner.
Often when he comes to visit me, he likes to go out to Jackson Park. He’s a nature bunny. He almost always takes a garbage bag with him, and cleans up random trash and the aftermath of teenage drinkin’ parties. He considers it his duty as a citizen of Earth.
He works for a social service agency which promotes awareness for HIV/AIDS in the GTA. He’s very passionate about his work, and is making a difference.
My younger lad works part time at a local fast food franchise. A lot of young people work there. I picked him up one night from work, and he was just vibrating, and I knew something was wrong. There’s always a lot of rough smack talk and horseplay in the kitchen, which I think is pretty normal in that type of environment, but this one night, one lad was lipping off a little too much about “fags”, and Thing Two flipped his lid and told him off. He went out to the parking lot to cool down for a minute, and the manager came out and asked him about the incident. Management then went inside and advised the staff that homophobia was not acceptable in their workplace. He’s not gay himself, but he’s a sensitive soul, and felt outraged by the callous intolerance.
He has spent countless hours volunteering for the Red Cross over the past two years, as well. Forty hours of community service? Bitch, please. I don’t know how many hours he’s put in, but forty is a drop in the bucket.
Thing Two is going to Ryerson to study social work in the fall. He’s going to make a difference as well. He already does.
I don’t talk a lot about my kids on this blog, but believe me, it’s not because I’ve got nothing to talk about. Their achievements are their own, not mine, so, am I “proud” of them? Is it “bragging” to call attention to these two great people that I know? I don’t think so. Someone told me many years ago that there was no point in talking to other people about your children, because either they have children of their own, or they have none, and either way, they’re not interested. I don’t think that’s true. I’m interested in the achievements of my friends’ children. I think it’s amazing that we’ve actually produced other people, who do good things.
Okay, so, some of the things they’ve done over the years have been not-so-good. It’s called “growing up”. I did a lot of stuff that doesn’t exactly make me burst with pride myself. But they’re both open-minded, intelligent people. They have imagination and fortitude. They feel injustice deeply, and are passionate about the dignity and worth of all people.
Whatever else they choose to do in their lives, their characters are formed, and they are sterling.