Our daughter, Nicole, is about to graduate from cosmetology school with far better grades than she has ever had. I suspect this is because it is something that she really likes to do (and having 4 other sisters to practice on over the years probably didn't hurt). Although it seems a little strange at first to have my hair done at home, I think I can honestly say that I could get used to the perks of having a daughter willing to do this for me and especially where I don't have to wait for an opening at the hairdressers (and I think Nicole appreciates the fact that I still pay her the going rates because she does still have student loans to pay off). All of our kids have learning weaknesses and Nicole is no exception, but she has discovered her niche and overcome a lot to achieve her success. She has worked hard and I have no doubt that she will attain whatever goal she chooses next to pursue. I also have no doubt that she will always be successful by using this same formula of success that is uniquely Nicoles'. We could not be more proud of her.
Our daughter Rachel has started to receive college acceptance letters for art schools along with some very nice dean's scholarships for her high grade point average. There is no doubt she is extremely talented. She has worked very hard to get where she is, although some might think her dyslexia is a major weakness, her cleverness in getting around it is one of her major strengths along with an extremely impressive work ethic. We have never had to get on her about homework. (I have no idea where this gene she got came from. I certainly cannot claim the same drive to succeed that she has) In fact, she puts us to shame as parents in not asking often enough if she needs any help or encouragement to achieve and remain at the level she has elevated herself to. She has done this on her own.
How successful? Well, if you happen to be in Boston for the next month or so, some of her artwork is being shown publicly with others that have won honors with their artistic abilities from the Boston Globe's Annual Art and Writing Contest. One of her works will continue on to the national level in New York City. (She obviously did not get this gene directly from her father or I, although her Aunt Laurie is very artistically gifted. I also see the irony in the first school to accept her was the same school my father turned down a full ride art scholarship to.)
I want to mention that our daughters Danielle and Nina are no less successful for wanting to take time off from school to figure out what direction they want to pursue. Sometimes, knowing when to take a step back and look at the big picture of where you are and where you want to be, is the best first step in figuring out how to get there. Many people get to this point and stop indefinitely. The trick is to not give up. Figuring out a goal and then working out how to achieve it is one of the hardest lessons in life and the harder it is to achieve, the more it is appreciated when you've arrived. Ladies, we are no less impressed and proud of all you have done to this point. Don't lose hope or belief in yourselves. Keep telling yourself that you can be discouraged tomorrow after you have turned the next corner to see what it holds and if it is not all you hoped for, then keep putting one foot in front of the other because another corner is just up ahead. You can only lose in life if you give up and if you feel you are close to that line, you need only ask yourself if you really want to give up all your hopes and dreams based on what has already happened or is it worth it to you to keep trying, no matter what.
To all of our daughters. Life is all about brick walls and how you handle them. If you come to a roadblock, you are lucky. Roadblocks mean that you are learning and growing and gaining the knowledge necessary to learn how to get past them. This is a good thing. Don't ever look at a dead end as the end. It is, only if you let it be. It isn't, if you don't let it be. It is only a lesson, so learn it and move on. Those who are successful look back on all those lessons as the foundation of steps it took to get to where they wanted to be. Keep on stepping lively. You DO have what it takes to reach for a dream and make it come true.
There have been many times in my life when I wished I had had my own cheering section. To have learned these lessons of success before I hit my 40s. Alas, I have learned that you are never too old to make one's dreams come true or to learn that if you are making mistakes that it is a good thing, because it means that you are trying. If I never teach you anything else, the lesson I hope you all learn is that you can only fail in life if you don't try. I can guarantee it won't be easy, but I can also guarantee it will be worth it.