We attended a graduation party recently. When it was announced that dinner was ready, a pack of teenagers descended on the buffet. Our son was among them. I watched as he took his usual spot at the back of the line.
I remembered a time when our son was in first grade and his teacher pulled us aside. She told us that, every time the class was told to form a line, our son would go to the end. He would never join the children crowding the front of the line. Whether it was for papers or cupcakes, he was always at the end of the line. His teacher wanted to warn us that we had better teach him to be more aggressive (her word) or he would never get anywhere.
I must admit, I was taken aback by her insistence that we teach our son to push to the front. My husband quickly responded that we were hoping to raise our son with different values. Instead of having a "me first" attitude, we wanted him to see that other people have needs. The teacher just stared at us and repeated her prediction that our son would "never get anywhere" with an attitude like that.
The teacher’s words made me question our choices for a short time, but they eventually faded. I forgot all about them until I saw him at the back of the line at the graduation party. I had to smile as I realized how wrong that teacher had been. Our son is friendly and well-liked and respected by adults and children. He is a leader, often chosen by classmates to head projects and clubs. He is generous, winning an award for the number of service hours he worked over the course of high school. He never did learn to be aggressive, but he certainly has developed values that will take him far.