From Dana's Guests

My Two Cents: A Father's Day Gift

Auguste Roc

"Remember, be a leader."

This is what I requested of Gussie during my "things-to-remember-while-you-are-at-camp talk.

"Remember, be a leader."

I was hoping to impart some fatherly wisdom before she heads off to arts camp to play the violin this summer.

Gussie is pretty well aware of how to conduct herself, but as a parent I sometimes feel like I've got to drive certain key points home.

She patiently sat back, and generously allowed me to offer "my two cents" (for whatever it's worth).

While I was delivering my talk, I remembered my experience during a summer program that I attended when I was around Gussies' age, eleven or twelve years old. I decided to share that story too.

It was an academic and sports program that you had to be invited to, to attend. I was selected after my grade school principle recommended me and a couple of other kids to attend.

Everyday I would get up very early, travel on the subway to camp. I would attend classes in the morning and participate in sports the rest of the day. It was the first time that I would travel alone.

I remember it as one of the best summers I ever had. I grew up learning to take the subway by myself. I got to meet new people and make new friends. The teachers, counselors and coaches were great.

What I really loved, though, was playing on the basketball team. We played in a competitive league and won all but one of our games.

It was awesome!

At the end of the program, there would be an award ceremony. Each one of the campers would get up to receive certificates for successfully completing the program. Awards were given out for key accomplishments.

I was confident that I had won the basketball teams 'MVP' trophy because I had been "so awesome on the court".

Just when I thought that I couldn't stand the anticipation any longer, the moment for me to accept my trophy had come.

"And, this year's basketball MVP winner goes out to..."

The applause rang loud, as they called somebody else's name.

What!? I could not believe it!

I was disappointed. I was certain that the MVP award was mine. I looked over at my Mom sitting in the audience, clear that I was now her disappointment because I had messed up and missed this opportunity to shine.

"How did I mess that up?" is what I whispered to myself. As I prepared to leave in shame and force my "goodbyes", I heard them announcing the final award for-

Class Leader.

Again the applause rang, but this time even louder!

I rode home on the subway that evening, not alone, but with my 'Mom' sitting on one side of the aisle --

and The Class Leader trophy rested inconspicuously on my lap.

"Remember, be a leader."

I remembered, after sharing my story, that who Gussie always is, is a leader. She never misses an opportunity to challenge herself and to muster up the courage to do the hard things. She will never take a short cut or sell out on what she knows to be right.

In trying to impart my fatherly wisdom and drive my key point home, Gussie reminded me of who I am and she taught me something about who I can be.

That's my two cents (for whatever it's worth),

Auguste Roc

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