My son recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He began this long journey at the tender age of five when he joined the Cub Scouts.
We were living in Fort Rucker, Alabama, at the time and part of an active group of military families. One of our friends, a single mom with two boys about my son’s age, had signed up for one of those running events. 5K or 10K, something small. All of us went along to support her run.
The event organizers had also planned a 1K run for kids. Our friend’s boys ran on their own, and they ran flat out. My five-year-old son asked his stepfather to run with him.
And my son ran. Not fast, mind you. More like a slow jog made in tiny, carefully placed steps. But he ran the entire distance, never once losing his pace. And that’s exactly the way my son has lived, taking life exactly as it comes, at his own pace and no one else’s.
Thirteen years later, he finally achieved the highest rank he could earn as a Boy Scout. He never gave up, not in the face of a move from Fort Rucker back to my hometown and all the associated difficulties of starting over, not in the face of changing troops or having a Scout Master quit when my son was the only one in his troop who hadn’t finished his Eagle rank yet.
He. Never. Gave. Up.
I could say a lot of things about the kind of character it takes to persevere when obstacle after obstacle is thrown into your path.
Instead, let me give you these words of encouragement, preceded by something we already know: Writing is hard. It’s easy to let negative reviews, sagging sales, and misbehaving characters wear us down. It’s a lot harder to keep our chins up and keep writing, keep learning, keep improving day after day, year after year, in spite of the curves life throws our way.
It’s tough, I know, but when your spirits dip and you’re tempted to throw in the towel, remember a tow-headed, freckle-faced little boy who never stopped running. Let him be your inspiration that day, the way he will always be mine.