Raising a teenager in the "Me" generation seems insurmountable. For years, I envisioned college move-in day and nipped at a list of lessons I designed for my son, Joshua, who aspires to become an engineer.
At 12, I demonstrated the intricacies of doing laundry. He did not, of course, take my instructions to heart until white socks were turned pink by red underwear.
At 14, I effected a fixed monthly allowance for school meals, clothes, shoes, entertainment, and asked him for a justifiable amount. Unbeknownst to him, Joshua was learning the value of budgeting and, to my delight, presented me a reasonable figure of $210 ($110 for school lunch, $80 for clothes/shoes, $20 for entertainment).
Joshua, though, wanted more bang for the buck. Rather than spend $5 a day for lunch,
Joshua started making his own sandwiches and bringing apple, banana, yogurt and granola bar to school, whilst compensating his father $40 monthly to shop for a personal stash of food. Without permission, nobody touches Joshua's loot, carefully tucked away at the bottom of the fridge.
At 16, he was awed by brown rice cooked to perfection in water measured up to my middle finger's second knuckle - versus his concoction prepped according to rice cooker instruction.
Joshua Ruehlig has become a fine young man practicing his Columbian Squire oath "Esto Dignus": Be Worthy. On Jan. 18, 2008, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce will honor this 17-year-old for services to school, church, community and country. It could not have been possible if not for those in this community who spend hours of selfless sacrifice dedicated to mentoring Joshua and our youth:
Wayne Butler (Scout Master), Robert Weare, Matt Fleming, Mike Kean, who roughed it up with Boy Scout Troop 153 sanding/painting benches at Waldie Plaza, laying new grass at the Rivertown walkway, painting Marchetti Park bathrooms, laying a brick patio at the Antioch Library, etc.
DVHS Leadership Teacher Sue Wiser, Joshua's mentor (seventh to12th grade) for organizing the Winter Ball, Leukemia Fundraiser, Christmas Meals on Wheels, Toy Drive for Orphanage, etc.
Former Cross Country Coach Walter Gorsky, who purged Joshua's diet and lifestyle, thus making him work out twice daily and mimic my (once labeled as strange) youth-enhancing regimen of drinking Norwegian cold water fish oil.
Jose Perez, Bob Bigoness, John Cupido and the Knights of Columbus, who worked with Joshua's Circle on the Mexico build-a-home project, Habitat for Humanity landscaping, Katrina victim relocation project, parliamentary procedures and public speaking workshops, etc.
Sifu Tim Calvin (Delta One Martial Arts) and Head Instructor Ricardo Barros (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), whom Joshua emulates for discipline, strength and courage.
All of Joshua's teachers, especially Larry Widener (music), Maria McClain (math) and Jeff Adkins (physics), who forged him into excellence. Last, but not least, the inimitable Mr. Irwin James (science), whose shrewd cerebral intimidation sparked Joshua's fantasy of inventing a rechargeable lawn-blower-propelled hovercraft, thus spawning his dream of assisting in the search for alternative fuel and sustainable resources to achieve self-sufficiency for modern man.
Cynthia T. Ruehlig