Monday, July 22, 2013

The value of persistence...

My heart is full of so much gratitude right now!
We made it through a challenging week that ended up being SO rewarding and fulfilling by the time it was done. 

My sweet son Jade 
did one of the hardest things he's ever done up to this point in his life; that of digging down deep, 
finding courage he never knew he had 
and giving a talk in church.

I'm SO proud of him and this great accomplishment! 

Jade told me what he wanted to say in his talk and I typed it up  (Tracy helped out SO much as well)
We worked and worked and WORKED on it every day, all week long, probably having him read it at least 8-10 times each day.  (I've got to admit, it was a little grueling and exhausting).

Sunday morning finally came, quicker than we hoped it would!

I was in awe that Tracy's parents and his Aunt Shelley and Uncle Joel wanted to come and hear him talk. (Ashley, Nick and Easton were there as well).
I was in greater awe, when an hour before church started my parents arrived at our door step, unbeknownst to us.
They drove all the way from Utah to see their grandson speak in church!!
(and even more thoughtful, that they brought watermelon, pizza and bread sticks for us to enjoy after church).
 It was humbling, it was touching 
and I have never cried more in my life!

It took Jade about 15 minutes to read his talk.
(I was a nervous wreck all morning...SO worried how it would turn out)
It was painful to watch him pronounce words that most people have no problem with, but Jade got an A+!

According to his Grandpa Tolman...he aced his talk!

I don't think there was a dry eye in the audience, 
people were truly touched by Jade!
In fact, we got this text message from our Bishop 
after we got home from church! 

One of our ward friends posted this on my Facebook wall: 
"What an awesome talk Jade gave yesterday! So wonderful! You guys have really maximized his strengths! He's a sweet, celestial person"!

I feel it such a great honor to be the lucky one 
that gets to call that boy my SON!

(Here is Jade's talk,
so we can have it for memory sake...
I've added in some photos that go with the things he spoke about).
"Our greatest glory is NOT in never failing, 
but in rising up every time we fail."  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Heber J. Grant was a great advocate for personal development.  He once quoted the following: “Every person can improve from day to day, from year to year, and have greater ability to do things, as the years come and the years go.”

He truly lived by this motto!  As a young man, Heber decided that he needed to improve his penmanship (this used to be a very important skill). He enrolled in a penmanship and bookkeeping course. Once, during a class, several friends gathered around his desk, joking about his horrible handwriting. One asked the question, “What is it?” Another said, “It’s hen tracks.” The final insult came from a boy who said, “I know what it is—lightning has struck an ink bottle.” Young Heber jumped up, struck the table with his fist and boldly stated that he would live to write even better than the professor of penmanship.

He achieved this goal!  He went from having poor penmanship, to having beautiful penmanship.  This skill helped him earn extra money during his struggling years.  He used his beautiful penmanship to create greeting and calling cards.  Often he received more money making cards, than from his regular job!
You are probably wondering, how can this story apply to Jade?  Life is full of daily challenges. Some people have more challenges and struggles than others. I greatly struggle with reading, math and even coordination.  I have had some very discouraging times!  There have been many tears, much anxiety and many times feeling like I just want to give up! 

However, my life is full of many positive people, who won’t let me give up!  People who keep me motivated and who focus on my strengths rather than my weaknesses! 
My dad first took us backpacking when I was 10 years old. He realized right off, how frustrating it was for me being at the back of the group… so, he tried something and had me LEAD the way. WOW!  For the first time in my life I felt like a winner!  For once I wasn’t slower than everyone else.  In fact, I set such a good hiking pace, my parents and others had a hard time keeping up with me! Because of this one small act by my dad, hiking is one of my favorite things to do and I love it and I’m great at it!     
When I was younger, I could never throw or catch a ball, (in fact, I still can’t).  However, I had a wonderful teacher, her name was Jacki Sare.  She got me involved in the track team when I was in 8th grade.
Even though I wasn’t good at ball sports, I could run and I loved it.  I ran cross country and track for 5 years, never missing a practice or an event!
I was not the fastest runner by any means… most of the time I came in last.  However, I always did my best and after every race, my parents would often hear me say the words: “ I sure did a good job today”!
Last summer, I climbed to the top of Table Mountain with Coach Barrus and another team mate and even though I’m not a fast runner, I am a fast hiker and I didn’t slow them down one bit.  In fact, we made it to the top and back in 5 hours… and for those of you who have hiked Table Mountain, you’ll know, that is a real accomplishment!  I’m grateful that even though I have struggles, I have learned the importance of persistence!  I keep picking myself up and trying again each time I fall, or have a bad day.  

I have some very big struggles with school learning, but, I love people, I truly care about them and I love socializing with them.  My love of running has me running and walking around the roads of Sunnydell almost daily and many times the highlight of my day is when I see my ward friends out in their yards and you stop what you’re doing and talk to me. Sometimes, I admit, I may be a little bit too friendly and I apologize for that, but, many people have told my parents that I made their day when I came and talked to them, or commented on their outfit, or hair, or jewelry!

I’m hoping that my love and compassion for people, especially older people, can make it where I can someday launch a career as a CNA in a nursing home!

Much like Heber J. Grant, I have persisted and developed some strengths.  Some of those strengths are, running, hiking, compassion and love of people!

I just want to thank all of you for loving and supporting me no matter what, even though at times, I may drive you all a little bit crazy, with my super friendly nature. I hope that we can all focus on the positive things in our lives and use our strengths to help boost and lift each other up, just as you have all done to me!

May we be models of kindness. May we always live up to the words of the Savior:
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  

(photo of Jade and both his grandparents at Graduation May 2013...
They are always there supporting you and by your side in all of your special moments and successes in life!)

Jade Marshall Smith
You have touched SO many lives for good!
Thanks for being such a great example of goodness to all of us!
Thanks for always being so thoughtful, kind and compassionate.

Thanks for always making us laugh with your contagious and FUN personality!
Thanks for making me SO proud of you!
Most of all, 

thanks for being such a great example of someone who NEVER gives up and who perfectly radiates the quote: 
"Our greatest glory is NOT in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail."  

it's one of your greatest attributes!

I love you...
to the MOON and back!
Thanks for filling my each and every day with JOY!
I couldn't be more proud of you!


{krista} said...

Aw, *sniff* that made me tear up! What an AWESOME talk! I can understand why there was hardly a dry eye in the room. You are so lucky to have such an amazing son. If every person could just look at life through Jade's eyes... just think of what could be accomplished. Awesome.

Welcome to the Garden of Egan said...

I am so proud of Jade. I wish I would have known, I would have left the ER to come and listen.

Thank you for writing his talk down so that I could enjoy it. He is truly my hero!