Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our Eagle

Purchasing some supplies at Home Depot

We knew from the time that Coolister first became involved in Boy Scouts that we wanted him to earn the rank of Eagle but we wanted him to want it. He kept procrastinating - almost to the point where we didn't think he'd make it before the age cutoff - but he finally got serious and got to work.

Coolister debated a few different project ideas and finally decided to design and build bookshelves for a local elementary school. He was able to collect enough in donations that he built 5 bookshelves and also gave a generous gift card to Barnes and Noble with each one.

He worked hard - and with the help of his family and many great friends and neighbors he was able to deliver the bookshelves before his 18th birthday.

One requirement for his eagle application was to have a parent write him a letter of recommendation. I was lucky enough to be the one to do this, and here is what I wrote:

To Whom It May Concern:

How does a parent write a letter of recommendation for one of their children without coming across as biased and boastful? I’m not sure that it is possible. However, I do wish to emphasize that although the following letter will likely seem to contain the gushing recommendation that you would expect from a parent, words are inadequate in my attempt to describe what a remarkable young man our son truly is.

Many of the things I can think to include in this letter would likely be redundant because they will already be a part of the other information which is required as a part of his Eagle paperwork. I will do my best to give you a glimpse into what is not included elsewhere.

Coolister is the oldest of our ten children. Most teenage boys do not have much interest in their younger siblings; this is not the case with Coolister. As the oldest child he has shown genuine caring and leadership in his association with each of his siblings. We have been pleased with his example to them of one who sets and accomplishes goals, works hard in school and is a loyal and trustworthy friend.

When Coolister is faced with a challenge, he conquers it head-on and without discouragement. In March of 2010 Coolister suffered an extreme open dislocation of his ankle which required surgery and physical therapy to rehabilitate. As a talented cross-country runner this could have been devastating, especially when he was told that this injury would likely put him out of sports for a year. However, Coolister did not let this deter him from his goal of running in the State Championship Meet the following season. He was good-natured and positive throughout the whole ordeal. Coolister worked hard and recovered quickly, surprising his doctors and physical therapist, and trained all summer to be back on track for cross-country in the fall where he was able to reach his goal of competing at the state level.

Coolister proved that he not only knew the words to the scout oath, but lived them as well, when his youngest brother was born last December. I slipped on ice and broke both bones in my lower leg three weeks before the baby was expected to arrive. When I came home from the hospital with a newborn baby and orders to stay in bed for 6 weeks, Coolister was a great help to our family. He never complained when asked to shop for groceries, run errands, help prepare meals, change diapers, or shuttle his younger siblings to their various activities.

At first sight, Coolister can come across as a fun-loving, silly kid. However, behind the scenes, as his mom, I get to see the side that many others don't. My son has a heart of gold. He is quick to forgive, always one to help others feel included and he is filled with a light that comes from really knowing who he is and what he has the potential to become.

As stated in the beginning of this letter, I feel that my words are inadequate. I am sure I could continue to write volumes and still not feel as though I have sufficiently helped you to know what really makes our son who he is. How can I summarize nearly 18 years of a life well-lived into one short letter?

Suffice it to say that I wholeheartedly recommend our son, Coolister, as a candidate for the rank of Eagle Scout.

Thank you,


We are still awaiting the final word but the local council approved his application with "absolutely no reservation". Awesome job, Coolister!


diane rene said...

what a beautiful letter for an amazing son. thank you for sharing it with us!

Teachinfourth said...

What a wonderful boy Coolister is...speaking from the teacher who saw many of these same qualities from a quirky 11 year-old boy who made me smile on a daily basis.

I know that much of who he is today is due to the parents he has had leading and guiding him over the past 18 years of his life...

Richard & Natalie said...

As if the accomplishments of reaching the rank of Eagle and organizing and building those bookshelves weren't impressive enough, your letter explained his true character and that is what is most impressive of all.

Way to go, Coolister!

Anaise said...

That's really a lovely letter, and those bookshelves are to die for!

Linn said...

He will NEVER regret doing whatever he needed to in order to get his Eagle! What a fine young man (and fabulous parents). Thanks for sharing the letter. I loved reading it!

laura said...

Well, here's a comment from another past teacher of Coolister's. He definitely was my favorite third grader (don't tell!) because of those qualities you so eloquently wrote about in your letter. I love the bookshelves-for-schools Eagle project. So cool.

And, funny timing, I came across a file yesterday as I was cleaning out in which I had saved students' writing that I thought worth another read. I have two treasures from Coolister that I'd love to send you if you're interested. An apology letter to a teacher and an essay on respect and not vandalizing. Email me your address if you're interested and I'll send them on.

Sarah said...

Amazing, thanks so much for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes to see such a glowing recommendation from one of the amazing behind-the-scenes parents of such a great kid.

I just KNOW he's going to get his Eagle!!!