A package came in the mail last week for my son, Matt. The return address read: Office of Admissions, USMA, West Point, NY. The day he had dreamed of since he was just a kid had finally arrived: an offer from West Point.
The congratulations poured in. “I remember when you were five years old,” a childhood friend wrote on his Facebook page, “and we were talking about what we were going to do when we grew up. You said, with confidence, ‘I’m going to WestPoint’.”
Captain Fun reports a similar story. “We were out hitting golf balls when Matt was in about 7th grade,” he says. “When I asked him what he wanted to do with his life, he said, ‘First, I am going to West Point’.”
But Matt is quick to say it hasn’t come easily; that only faith, perseverance and keeping his eyes on the goal have helped him achieve his dream.
The first time he tried, he didn’t get in. He met the academic requirements, he received the congressional nominations, he wrote his essays—all part of the grueling application process. When he fell short by a hair on the PT test, however, the door closed.
Disappointment was deep after dreaming about it for so long. But Matt didn’t give up. “I knew I could put more effort into it,” he told me when I asked him what made him try again, “and I didn’t want to give up just yet on my childhood dream.” Matt put off college for a year, joined the National Guard, and reopened his West Point file. By the time the February 1st deadline rolled around, he had met all the requirements. Now to just to wait for the verdict.
“My uncle applied five times,” someone told me last year, “but on the fifth time he got in.”
“For every year he applies, he will be one year stronger, one year more mature, one year closer to being ready,” someone else said along the way.
“It’s not what you got, it’s what you do with what you got,” says Mom Dot. A lot of truth is in that statement. Talent, smarts, personality are all great qualities. But without perseverance—the ability to get back up when you fail--they don’t amount to much.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me—Phil. 4:13.” Matt wrote on his Facebook wall the day he got the news. It is the achievement of a dream.
I am so proud of my son. And though I know the greatest challenges still lie ahead, I am confident will Matt will be succeed.
As long as he keeps his eyes on the goal.