Founder's Circle: News & Events

Celebrating Your Children This Holiday Season

SEALKIDS Founder and Program Director with her sons

This past weekend while most people were holiday shopping, we were celebrating college graduations. Two of our kids walked across the stage, one for an undergraduate degree and the other for his MBA. Both have worked so hard, in school and out, and both took longer than planned to complete their degrees, but it didn’t matter as they received their diplomas. As I sat in the audience I was reminded of how different children are and how they all need different support to achieve their goals.

I will never forget sitting in my son’s 4th grade classroom and the teacher telling me that I needed to accept that he would never go to college. The cruelty and arrogance behind her remarks still stings, but in a weird way, I have to thank her. She started a fire in me.

She made me the advocate I needed to be for my children. Her lack of belief, gave me belief. She made me a fighter, and she made him a fighter.

I responded by saying that she had no way of knowing what God had planned for this child, and that his future was up to God and him, and me…but, definitely, it was not up to her.

We then went on to learn everything we could about learning challenges. We got him every intervention available inside and outside of school, but the most important thing we did was believe in him, and the most important thing he learned to do was persevere.

School was still difficult for him. It was difficult through grade school and high school. He struggled at first in college and even had to start over at a new school but then, with support, he found his stride and flourished. Because it was hard, he has grit, discipline and a work ethic that exceeds most. This weekend, the boy that teacher said would never go to college received his MBA.

To the parents of struggling children, enjoy your kids this holiday season. Don’t be so worried about them that you forget to have fun. They will be okay. They will exceed expectations and find their way. Just be there for them, work hard with them…and never quit. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone here at SEALKIDS.

—Suzanne Vogel