After a few drafts.... Please Critique

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After a few drafts.... Please Critique

Postby berto24 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:39 pm

His name is Austin.

Austin is a member of the middle school youth group at our church, where I volunteer. The group meets on Wednesday evenings and every summer attends an event called The Great Escape, which includes six days of games, community, food, worship, and friendship.

Each afternoon the kids are allowed three hours of free time where they can usually be found swimming, throwing Frisbee, snacking, chatting, or laughing. Meanwhile, most counselors take a much-needed nap or drink coffee to fight heavy eyelids. Although I feel coffee is in the ranks of food, water, and shelter, naps are not particularly one of my favorite past times, so I can typically be found with the youth. This particular afternoon however, I decided to spend some time alone. I found a spot at the camp where I wasn't in the way and I set up a slack-line. A balance sport, slack-lining is much like walking a tightrope.

Austin approached in his normal fashion - with the grace of an elephant. It was clear he was looking for me and, as he came closer, his demeanor indicated had something on his mind. We talked about the events of the afternoon, and how he "crushed some kids" at air hockey, a feat he was obviously proud of. I showed him how to walk on the slack-line and, with a little help, he managed to balance fairly well. Slack-lining is a difficult sport to master, especially for someone like Austin, who, at thirteen years old, struggles learning how to make his man-sized body work. I felt a sense of pride in teaching Austin something original and helping instill in him a sense of self-confidence. The ironic element of pride, though, is that it often precedes humility, which I experienced when Austin shared the real reason he came to find me.

"Can you teach me how to shave?" Austin asked me as we were packing up the slack-line. Caught off-guard, I laughed a little, and enthusiastically agreed because I could sense how important it was to him. You see, Austin was the first among the middle school boys to begin showing signs of maturity. He stands six feet tall, wears a size 11 shoe, and that summer, his first mustache appeared. The other kids had nicknamed him "squirrel boy" in reference to the fuzz on his top lip. Although he played along with the jokes, even encouraged them for the desire of the other kids' attention, it was obvious the mustache jokes were starting to sting.

As we walked back to the cabin and gathered the essential shaving supplies, Austin shared with me that he's never had a father figure in his life, and his mom wouldn't teach him to shave because she felt it was a man's job.

Over the following twenty minutes I taught Austin the art of shaving. I gave him the brand new razor I happened to bring with me and shared with him the importance of a good lather, shaving with the grain, and applying aftershave. As I showed him a task I find so rudimentary, I realized the significance of this time together. Austin chose me to be a teacher and a mentor in his life. He wanted me to be the man who could teach him things that were, as his mom told him, "a man's job."

Not long after we finished, the dinner bell rang. His excitement was contagious as we walked to the dining hall. I had never seen Austin as proud of himself as when he heard the collective gasp and ensuing praise from the other children for his clean-shaven look.

Later that evening, when I had a moment to reflect on the day’s events, I wept. I am not quite certain why I decided to be by myself that afternoon, or what Austin saw in me to ask for my help. Whatever the reason, Austin chose me for counsel and I was able to show him a glimpse of the father he's never had in his life. That day taught me a lesson about my character: I find joy in helping others.

That joy I find in service to others has led me to become involved in several additional community activities. Recently I joined Rotary International, a service organization that encourages its members to become involved in local and global projects that serve the fellow man. In Rotary, we follow the "four-way test" as a standard by which we think, speak, and act. The test questions if all the things we think, say, and do are the truth, fair to all concerned, builds goodwill and better friendships, and beneficial to all concerned. I now actively try to weigh all my decisions against theses four questions. I intend to continue using these principles in the way I approach law school and the practice of law.

Also in the past year, a small group of young people in our local community and I started an organization we call IdeAction. The purpose of IdeAction is simple: to promote our community and take an active role in making improvements where a need is identified. This unrefined group quickly gained cohesive momentum and, in our first year, created a Saturday morning farmer's market in our local central park, established family-oriented entertainment events downtown every Friday night, and is now working on an online community calendar to further promote and enhance events in the area. The fundamental aspect of IdeAction is the action. When a need has been identified in the community, the group immediately works toward addressing that need. Within my life, as within IdeAction, I aim to take a proactive approach to any problem or need I may encounter, be it global, local, or individual.

In January, I will be ordained as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. As an Elder, I am charged with serving as a leader of the congregation on the Session Board. The Elders are responsible for overseeing and approving church committees, activities, and finances. Being nominated for this position in a 1,000-member congregation is an honor. It is also an opportunity and a responsibility. I will have the opportunity to learn and share with older, wiser Session members, and share the collective responsibility of serving our congregation through the decisions we make.

A duty to responsibility, a proactive attitude, principle-guided actions, and a serving heart have formed my identity to this point. I now look forward to gaining a legal education to enhance my character in the ultimate pursuit of helping others, like Austin, in their times of need.


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Re: After a few drafts.... Please Critique

Postby sandaltan » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:00 pm

you gave a 13 year old church camp outcast a razor and then wept about it!?

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Re: After a few drafts.... Please Critique

Postby Leira7905 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:10 pm

Well, I don't know what the adcomms will think of it... But I absolutely LOVED IT! If nothing else, it will help you stand out from the rest of the applicants, and that's always a good thing.


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Re: After a few drafts.... Please Critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:12 pm

Starts out slowly, becomes very effective, then becomes too much.

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Re: After a few drafts.... Please Critique

Postby ach24 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:24 pm

Last edited by ach24 on Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: After a few drafts.... Please Critique

Postby verklempt » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:25 pm

Trim a little bit of Austin.

No need for Rotary unless you can somehow make it personal (listing its attributes and saying that you abide by them is not very personal).

Tell us more about IdeAction -- might be a great place for you to show the reader where you shine.

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