For those of you that read my weekly blog you already know that i write about Zach and Sam’s accomplishments and adventures. Like parents everywhere we celebrate the achievements of our kids, whether it be scoring a goal in U6 soccer or graduating top of their class we’re so proud of them it feels like you could burst with pride when they do something amazing.

Yesterday I got an excited email from Sam, shortly followed by an email from Columbia University to let her know that she had been selected as the 2018 Dean’s Leadership Award Winner for her summer program at Columbia.  The award is based on three factors:  (1) Academic Excellence (2) Peer Leadership and Community Building and (3) Community Service.

After Sam had gotten home from her time at Columbia we had talked about her experiences and in her words it had been great but she found the course demanding but fun.  No hint of her excelling or going beyond what was expected of her as a summer student.

Her professor had nominated her and said this about her contribution:

Samantha excelled in the studio component of the course, showing a great capacity for independent thought and self-drive. She took on complicated abstract ideas and was able to successfully represent them both orally and spatially in her drawings and models alike. For the second assignment, Samantha’s urban mapping translated nuanced sounds of the city into a comprehensive set of line weights and line types. Her final design proposal was well conceived in its layout and circulation.”

What it has done is cemented the idea that instead of going directly into Architecture (even though she thoroughly loved the program) that she will likely undertake an Engineering degree first, then if still interested she’d complete her masters in Architecture.

The professors were pretty blunt and forthright with the class in that there are few jobs in architecture and so a difficult profession to be in…   Nothing like a dose of reality to set you straight…am I right?

At the end of the day she had an incredible experience, getting to learn first hand what its like to go to University (helping her mentally and emotionally prepare), as well as provide her with real life experience in something she loves and has a passion for.

As I told her earlier this week, which ever path she chooses it will be the right one.  You can’t second guess yourself, and think about “what if”.  She’s a mature and pragmatic young woman and as such has a good grasp of her path forward, all I can do as her dad is provide love and support and have confidence that she will excel in whatever she decides.

I was bursting with pride when I read the email from the dean at Columbia and told her how proud I am of her…

Really nothing can be better as a parent when your children makes you proud of their accomplishments, although mostly I’m thrilled for her and the possibilities it opens up particularly as she embarks on her final year of high school.

Not only is it a feather in her cap, but will look brilliant on her resume!  It will also build her confidence as she takes on the role of school prefect and leading the Innovation program at her school.

Sam is wired differently to Zach in that her strengths revolve around Math and Science, whereas his lay in the Humanities.  Both difficult but for different reasons.  🙂

I know I’ve said this before, but I am truly blessed in that I’ve raised to two well rounded, mature, smart young adults.  No longer children, they have a worldliness that is astonishing (okay, I’ll take a little credit for that part), and intelligence that is way beyond my simple grasp.

Not only academically inclined but Sam played U18 Women’s soccer for Canada last year at the Maccabi Games in Israel, and although her soccer has taken a backseat to her studies (which I applaud and support) in the last six months she is well positioned to get into her school of choice and if so inclined be a “walk on” for the Women’s varsity soccer team for whichever school she decides.

I love that she has worked hard to open doors on so many fronts and that she is truly following her passions. 🙂

I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned about being a dad is being present and giving your kids the eternal gift of your time.  Spending time with them at whatever age is priceless…  We all know the term that life is too short, but my personal greatest pleasure is spending time with each of them, both together and singularly.

Demonstrating your love and commitment every day by being available and present has no greater impact on the lives of your children.  This simple act has helped shaped who they are today as well as tomorrow by forging their outlook on life, but more importantly shaping their values and developing their high level of emotional intelligence.

This underrated capability is by far and away one of the least known and most valuable things you can teach your kids. The ability to read the emotional state of others, engage them and work with them toward common ground is invaluable as an adult.

I feel that both Zach and Sam have embraced some of my key mantra’s in their lives which I believe will set them up for success no matter where or what they do – they will create their own success!   And I’ll be supporting and cheering them on each step of the way.

Yes, I’m one proud Papa!