And the Kid Moves On

DLI (the Defense Language Institute) is tough, and even basic training was no preparation for what the kid landed in when he got his language. He was informed right up front that washouts were common, that the program would require the best he had, that a lot of people wouldn’t make it through. He figured, in spite of that, that he had it aced.

He, like a lot of other smart people, had spent most of his life to that date sliding by on smarts without ever exerting much effort — and when he was first presented with the reality that he was going to have to work harder than he could imagine to get accomplish what he wanted, reality kicked his ass.

I’m delighted to say that he stepped up. He kicked back. When he was told he couldn’t make it, he said “Watch me,” and proved he could. Last night I got his call that he’s passed his third set of tests, winning the right to stay in his language and the DLI. I knew he had it in him. He’s proud of himself; he’s doing something big, and worthwhile, and hard, and he’s learning that he has the toughness to succeed in spite of failure, and in spite of obstacles.

That’s my kid.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.