Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ivy League Dreams

Who would have ever thought that a few marks of ink on a paper napkin could have a profound effect on a young boy's journey toward his goals?

A few months ago, a woman stopped to talk to me at Costco. She was intrigued by a page from my book that was on display. The page illustrated visualizing your dreams. She told me a story about her son and gave me permission to share it.

Years ago, she attended an SEOP with her then thirteen-year-old son. During the SEOP her son told his counselor that he dreamed about attending an Ivy League school. The counselor raised his eyebrows and stated that not many kids make it into Ivy League schools. The counselor went on to share discouraging statistics and encouraged her son to set "realistic" goals.

When the SEOP was over, this mother, a single mom, was furious. She tried to hide her anger from her son. While driving home, she detoured towards a shopping district and decided to take her son out to dinner. She just couldn't go home on that sour note.

During dinner she told her son that he could achieve ANYTHING he wanted to "if" he was willing to work hard and make sacrifices. She KNEW he could do it. If he wanted to attend an Ivy League school, it was within his reach. She unrolled the paper napkin that was wrapped around the utensils. She handed him a pen and told him to write down:"I play football at an Ivy League School on a full-ride scholarship." She later framed the napkin and put it on her son's bedroom wall.

I interrupted her story and said, "He made it. Didn't he?" She grinned and said he had just finished his first semester at Brown University. It will cost $59,000 for his first year. He was there on a full-ride football scholarship! During Christmas break he came home for a visit. He told his mom that he had written down numerous goals on paper napkins and had put them all over his dorm wall. During a contemplative moment he said, "Mom, but what if they don't all happen?" His wise mother responded, "Kid, if 1/2 work out, you will be further ahead than most kids your age."

This mother is a school counselor. Don't you hope your child's next SEOP is with her?