Taking Stewardship

I was talking with one of my seniors this morning. She is a very bright student, in contention for valedictorian. She is probably one of the top ten math students I have had in my whole 13-year teaching career, and maybe the smartest overall. She also has a great personality to boot. I only hope my sons can find a girl like her to marry.
I was asking her some probing-type questions to help fill out a couple of college admission recommendations for her. The questions were about her interest and future plans. Her ultimate goal appears to be medicine, most likely pediatrics, but she wants to major in humanities for her bachelors. That seems to be a challenging route to med school, but a background in humanities may help her handle the tough ethical and moral dilemmas doctors are faced with today. She will do well whatever path she chooses.
One form asked a question about her strengths and weaknesses. So I put the question to her. (I love to watch people try to answer that question, especially truly humble people.) After we discussed her academic strengths, I asked about her personality strengths. She was unsure, so she turned the question back to me. I smiled. (I told you she was smart.) I replied that I have only seen a small window of her life through school (although she has been in my classes since her sophomore year). I described her as being very neat and well organized. She agreed with an amusing anecdote by comparing herself and her sister. I described her as one that always has to complete a task to the best of her ability, even if she did not like it. No half measures. She agreed. (She had a Tolstoy novel sitting on her desk.) She added that she was very independent and did not like to ask for assistance. She was a bit of a control nut.
A lump rose in my throat. As we were describing her, I began to see parts of myself. I was, or still am, a bit of a control nut too. (Although it pains me to admit that at times.) I wanted to play a high card and tell her something deep about my faith. I was not exactly sure how deep her faith ran even though I had attended her conformation Mass. I decided to tell her that I wanted to share something deeply personal with her but was unsure how. I asked about her faith. Did she pray often? Not really. Did she go to church every week? Well, not always. My eyes started to get misty at the same time as hers. Then I just came out with it, “We are a lot alike. I like to think of myself as independent and a bit of a control nut too. But I reached a point in my life where I could not control everything. I could not do it all by myself. I needed help. And the hardest thing I have had to learn is to let go and trust in Christ.” The tears started flowing. We had touched upon a raw nerve.
A lot of young people her age are trying to figure out their relationship with God. They are learning to take stewardship of their faith instead of following their parents. Maybe she has gotten a little lazy about it. I am not sure. I did not push the issue. She will figure it out, whatever it is. She is an intelligent, honest person. I have faith in her. She will find her way. And maybe she realizes that she will not be able to do it alone. None of us can.
She is going to make one heck of a doctor some day.

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