Scott is the youngest of my three children, with two older sisters. That fact alone should cause you to admire him. ;-) Anyway, he is 22 years old and a senior in college. And he is my role model.
Scott has a will of iron. He always has. When he was a toddler, if something did not happen according to his approval, he would scream and cry and bang his head on the floor. Usually, the head-banging happened on the living room rug, but once (and only once) it occurred outside on the cement patio. And Scott has always had very strong opinions about many things -- even as a toddler -- so, there were always copious occasions for head-banging.
When I was a young mother, trying to make sense of my little boy, I realized that lying at the root of all his apparent attempts at self-harm was the fact that he had -- basically -- the strongest will I had ever come across. And I knew (or, rather, hoped) that he would learn -- with my help -- to harness that will for good. And he has.
It has not been an easy road. For either of us. It has been a road worth traveling, though.
Because, along with this iron will, Scott has one of the greatest senses of justice and fairness that I have ever come across. When he was three, this sense of justice manifested itself in a resistance to learning certain bathroom skills and watching Mr. Rogers on television. For some reason, my son found Mr. Rogers -- and any other children's show -- to be highly objectionable. The only thing my son would watch was "Top Gun". He wanted to watch "Top Gun" every single day for most of his pre-school life, and I pretty much let him. With all that head-banging going on, I had to choose my battles carefully. Judge me, if you will, I don't care. My son is a history major, a docent at The Flying Leathernecks Aviation Museum at Miramar, and he completed an internship at Pearl Harbor this past summer; and I give all the credit to Maverick, Goose, and Ben Affleck's performance in -- you know it -- "Pearl Harbor". (Yes. I let Scott watch "Pearl Harbor" when he was a small boy. Go ahead and judge me. I don't care.)
Scott also found learning the alphabet and listening to any sort of children's book contrary to his sense of justice and fairness. The only books he allowed me to read to him before he was five years old were "F-14 Tomcat Walk Around" and "Military Aircraft Identification." He did make an exception to his objection to children's books for "Curious George", though, which was kind of nice for me. I can't tell you how many hours I spent reading aloud to Scott about Pratt and Whitney engines, and such. I did, though, have one requirement that I made my son abide by. And he pretty much did abide by it, with just a few tears and boltering head passes at the family room floor. My requirement was that he had to identify certain capital and lower case letters in his favored books BEFORE I would read about such things as the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye. I would say, "Point to the 'G', Scott." And he would do it -- all the while giving me the evil eye. But, he would do it.
These sorts of negotiations between Scott and me continued throughout his childhood and most of his adolescence. If he didn't think a request being made of him -- by me or by anybody else -- was reasonable, he just wouldn't budge. Never mind the consequences. He was immovable. He would only consent to something if he deemed it necessary and appropriate.
As he got older, though, he began to view the world and its requirements with a more mature eye. And -- because his great sense of justice led to a great sense of conscientiousness and responsibility -- he began to cooperate with the demands of young adulthood, college admissions boards, and United States citizenship. This has not always been easy for him, for -- as we all know -- adulthood, colleges, and the United States government require some pretty stupid-ass things, sometimes.
I am really proud of Scott. I know his personality has not made life easy on him. And it never really will. He has to wrestle with himself a great deal, but the results of that internal sparring have led to a young man who is exceptional in kindness, patience, and -- yes -- justice.