Feb 20, 2012 0 Share

Earning Esteem

Boss giving "OK" sign, saying "Wish I had more employees like you"

For some reason, I’ve had Cameron apply for more opportunities/programs/camps in the past year than I have in … well … his entire life. This is partially due to the fact that I’m actually processing all the emails I get about summer programs, information sessions, and what not. Because I have my Transition hat on, I’m realizing how applicable and meaningful many of these opportunities are. (It makes me wonder how many opportunities went by unnoticed or unattended to when my Transition hat was just lying in the corner.)

I recently submitted an application on Cameron’s behalf for a Youth Leadership Forum that will be held this summer. A recommendation from a teacher or employer was required as part of the application. I let Cameron decide who the recommendation should come from, and he, not surprisingly, chose his manager at his internship at Angelico Pizzeria. The recommendation came home with Cameron in an unsealed envelope. I took that as an invitation to review it myself, and it was probably the best thing I’ve ever read. Admittedly, I’ve done a little bragging in this space over the past few months about how proud I am of Cameron, but nothing I’ve written compares to what my son’s manager wrote about him. He said things like, “Some of my other employees could take an example from Cameron.” How totally awesome is that?! He also went on to use words like “polite,” “inquisitive,” and “learns new tasks easily.” I had to grab a tissue before I got to the end.

And the greatest thing of all was that the actions that Cameron was receiving accolades for were done without me being there to prompt for them. You mean he’s “polite” without me being there to ask, “What do you say, Cam?” He can learn new tasks without me breaking it down for him, or without me making an excuse for why he can’t do said task? Now I know how a momma bird feels when she sees her fledgling take flight for the first time. I can’t imagine it feeling more sensational, even if I were to sprout wings and take flight myself.

I got so excited about the application process, I wonder if I’ll be able to contain myself if Cameron is selected for the program. In addition to this one week program, Cameron is also applying for the Summer Youth Employment Program, where he has the potential to be placed in paid employment for the first time. Cameron is thrilled at the prospect of working this summer, as opposed to the dreaded Summer School. (You can dress it up with a fancy acronym like “ESY” but it still means getting on a school bus in the morning by 7:15, and that is not Cameron’s idea of how to spend a summer vacation.) Cameron understands that he has to start earning money to support his desire to learn to drive. He even appreciates the experience of the programs he applies for. As long as he sees it as a means to reach his goal of one day owning a pizza restaurant, he’s in. I wish I could take credit for all Cameron’s wonderfulness. But it feels even better knowing the credit is all his.