Sep 21, 2019

What I Like About You

You know that 80s song: What I Like About You? That's what I think of when I think of this kid. I think my entire blog is a homage to how much I love, enjoy, and admire all my kids. But it's true. The more I know them, the more I'm amazed by who they are and that I have been given the gift of having them in my life all these years.

The thing about Gavin, specifically, that I never ceased to be amazed by his love of learning and capacity to absorb knowledge like a sponge. This has been a consistent character trait of his since he was born. I just thought that's how all kids were since I didn't know any better. I have since learned how unique he is.

As a 3 year old, he loved doing CBTs (computer based trainings - Chuck taught him that terminology) that were actually Bob The Builder activities on their webpage. This was around 2001/2002. He was also begging me to teach him to read, "Teach Nanan (what he called himself) read mom." So I did. That's how we started homeschooling. Homeschooling (in his younger years) seemed the perfect fit for him because he could do interest driven learning and go as deep as he wanted. He's the type of person who loves to learn as much as he can about one subject. He also needed ample time in his day to process this new information, to be creative, and to escape into his own world so he could think. This has always been a keystone in his learning process. Public schools (at the time) were not encouraging this way of learning.

As he got older, he would find books that satisfied his curiosity. One such book, "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking came into his life around 10th grade and quickly became his all-time favorite book. He would always buy it as gifts for friends or to bring to gift exchange parties. He even encouraged me to read it which resulted in the best book talks. We still love to talk about what we're reading with each other, something I treasure deeply.

In high school many other teachers started speaking into his life and opening his eyes to new ways of thinking. He's had several teachers he admired that have fed his constant thirst to go deeper and learn more - about every subject. His U of M Lit and Comp teacher lamented that he wouldn't be majoring in writing somehow because she loved having him in her class and the discussions they would have and the insights he would write about. His St. Cloud State University Physics teacher even came to his graduation party he admired him so much. He loved his AP European History teacher so much him and his friends would hang out in her class whenever they had the chance, he even became her T.A. His Comparative Religion teacher also made a huge impact in his life.

Throughout his teenage years, he consulted YouTube for all his learning how to code needs. He taught himself multiple languages such as Python, C++, and Java. He built his own website. He built his own computer and helped his friends build theirs. As a parent, it's such a joy to watch your child come into their own - to find their passion, their talent, their purpose in this world. 

As he left for UC - Irvine, he was excited about his Computer Science and Engineering major. But after his first year, he realized that he already knew a majority of that stuff and wasn't feeling very challenged or enjoying it as much as he thought. So, upon entering North Dakota State University his sophomore year, he changed his major to Electrical Engineering. When asked "why?" his answer was always the same, "Because I want to major in something I can't teach myself or learn on youtube." Fair enough. 

Just recently, he off-handedly mentioned that he was taking Biology this year because that was one of the sciences he didn't know too much about. I asked, "Didn't you already meet all of your science credits?"  To which he replied, "Yes, but if I want to specialize in Biomedical Engineering, this is one of the requirements." This was the first we heard of his specialization. 

Most people go to college to major in something they already realize they are pretty good at, know more than most people about, or have a passion for. Gavin loves and is knowledgable in such a wide variety of subjects that he chooses to major in the thing he doesn't know much about so he can learn it. That just blows my mind. I love how his brain works. I learn something new from him every single time we talk.

I also love how well-rounded he's become, how he goes to the local farmer's market on the weekends, how he still plays Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, how he takes a walk around the park or along the river most nights, how he calls and talks to me for an hour twice a week. I could never have imagined what this time in our lives would hold and am loving every minute of what it has turned out to be. 



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