Last Friday evening was a significant occasion for our family. Our oldest son Jay, a senior, was voted “Mr. Eagle” at a big high school event. He beat 11 other contestants. (His class has roughly 500 kids.)
It was thrilling to hear them announce the new Mr. Eagle, in a room of more than 700 screaming kids. Well, a few were adults, though I’m not sure how many of those were screaming. Heather and I screamed along with the rest.
Looking back, I remembered one of the events that shaped who Jay is today. We moved to Kenya, Africa in 2005, for a two year work assignment. Shortly after we arrived, Heather enrolled both Jay and Ben in Ligi Ndogo (“small league”) — a soccer club for boys. They were the only white kids in the whole league. They learned to relate to kids of another culture and to speak a little Swahili. They didn’t want to go every Saturday, but we basically forced them to take part. “Eat your spinach, it’s good for you!”
The Mr. Eagle evening included answering questions that the contestants were not prepared for. Jay’s question: “What one thing would you do differently, if you could live your life over?” He paused and said he wished he had been able to spend more time in Africa.