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What’s your why?  It’s a question that you hear in the Bright Line Eating Community from time to time.  We all have a common goal of healthy, thin, and free, but the reasons for achieving that are as numerous as the stars in the sky.

I’ve shared parts of my story with you so you may recall that part of my journey was when my wife and I unexpectedly adopted a sibling set of babies and I realized that if I stayed on the same road I was traveling, I wouldn’t live to see their milestones of marriage, or even graduation. And then it hit me – I might not see these things for my oldest daughter, either.

But this weekend she is hitting one of those milestones and I am so excited to not only be alive to see it, but to have the energy to enjoy it.  My oldest daughter, Emma, will walk in the graduation ceremony of our local community college.   For the past two years she has been dual enrolled there earning college credits while she has completed her high school degree.  For this homeschool family, this is really her high school graduation.

Her grandparents are all arriving this weekend and we are having a small dinner to honor her.  As I have thought about these past 18-years (which have really flown by!) and the things that Emma has accomplished, it’s her character that stands out.

Let me tell you about Emma and 4 things I’ve learned from her.

Willing to Take Risks

Emma is willing to take risks.  When she started Kindergarten we enrolled her in a dual language school.

This meant that half her day was taught in Spanish – a language she didn’t speak.  The goal was that over the years she would learn to not only speak Spanish, but to read, write, and think in Spanish.  One thing separated those who did well from those who struggled and that was being willing to try, make a mistake, and learn from that mistake.  Those who did were the risk-takers, and Emma was one of those.  Today she is bilingual and while the language skill will carry her far, her willingness to take risks will take her even further.

A Heart of Hospitality

Emma is great at putting people at ease and inviting them into whatever is going on.  She has a heart of hospitality, regardless of the circumstances. There are many times where she has been in a new situation, seen someone else who looks uncertain, and has engaged with them in a way that puts them at ease.  She asks good questions that focus on the other person as she gets to know them.  She typically skips over the standard discussion about someone’s resume and gets to the things that make them who they are.  People are often surprised to learn that she, too, was a newbie in that same situation.

Full Engagement

Emma has a zeal for life.  She is excited about new opportunities and says “yes” whenever she can.  Once she has committed, she is fully engaged.  She loves new experiences, meeting new people, and learning new skills.  Whatever she is doing, she is fully engaged.  Her phone is put away, and her attention is turned to the person, event, or task at hand.

Always Learning

Emma is always learning.  True, she’s been in school these past many years and that has been her primary job.  But it’s more than what’s required.  It’s driven by curiosity.  Her YouTube history is full of Crash Course videos on things she’s not even covering in class.  Her podcast list covers a wide range of topics and interests.  And her stack of books from the library is always fun to poke through to see what has piqued her interest.

So in just three short months, she will be on her way to attend college in Michigan.  This is the beginning of many changes for our family as she is the first to leave the nest.  She is our firstborn.  The one who made me a dad and made us a family.   I am going to miss her so much, but I am so proud of the young woman she has become and I’m so excited to see her begin this new life adventure.

I love you Emma!

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