CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Every time we ask a child what a “Forever Family” means to them I am always intrigued as to what they will say. This question is interesting to me not only because it makes our crew get teary-eyed nearly every time, but because I sit there and I can hardly imagine what I myself would say.
I grew up in a loving, stable family and have strived to create that for my children. I know what a forever family looks like so I rarely take in the heaviness of that question in the first place. I think about what I would say and all the key components I would want to answer without sounding too cliche. Here is what blew me away about our teen this week.
That day in the midst of running around on set, when he spoke in detail about his hopes for a Forever Family he made me stop my running to-do list and simply listen. I was astounded by the beautiful way he articulated his views on a Forever Family and especially his sister. It was not even so much his words, although they were powerful. Robert was remarkable with a calm, joyful disposition that drew you in. Robert had the most confident yet gentle spirit I have ever seen in a teenage boy which was not at all what I expected.
His dyed curled locks, his cool basketball shirt, and his confident swagger made me think I was in for a difficult day. I thought he would be quiet during the interview, or that he would think that a day on the farm feeding animals and eating ice cream would be lame for a social teenage boy who excels at sports and appears as confident as he does.
However, this young man completely took my preconceived notions and threw them out the window. He pushed his sweet sister on the swing and laughed all the while. He sat on the hayride and talked candidly with our crew as if he had known them for years. He took videos of himself filming the animals and told us “thank you” multiple times. He let his sister order her ice cream first, he had the maturity of a 20-something and had the most approachable disposition I have ever seen in a teenage boy. Robert was an incredible young man who is able to not only find joy despite difficult circumstances, but he is able to let that joy flow from him for others to see.
I loved that as he answered the question he smiled so that his dimples and smile lines creased tightly, but mostly I enjoyed hearing him express the fullness of his hope. He shared about a love that never vanished. This young man was one of the few who made me want to stop scurrying around, be still, and just listen to him. As I watched, listened, and observed, I realized that not only did I enjoy his presence but I envied how at ease, how gentle, and how joyful he is at heart.
I thought about his desire to be someone’s son, which made me think about my own three sons at home and how Robert gave me a new perspective. If I had to answer what I want my forever family to be I would simply answer, “I hope I have sons that grow up with the same gentle and joyful disposition of an incredible young man I met on a farm while on set filming one fall day.”