There’s no present like time
“There’s no time like the present, and there’s no present like time,” sings David LaMotte in his song, Deadline.
There’s a lot of truth to that, whether we’re talking about preparing applications or considering the busy holiday season.
The Newton Youth Leadership Institute selection committee is hard at work this week scoring applications.
With 56 applications to narrow down to just 21 emerging young leaders, it will be no easy task.
Each application has its strengths—some have nearly perfect GPAs, others have a long list of leadership and awards.
A few students, and parents, seem to forget that it’s the balance that really matters—not only for applications, but also for life. Taking time off from studying to spend time on other interests can actually boost your résumé.
Extremely high grades and scores can guarantee acceptance into certain schools and programs.
But when it comes to scholarships, internships, and programs like YLI, there’s more considered than GPA.
A job—paid or volunteer—shows a student maintained a position of responsibility over time. A job paired with a good GPA means a student can strike a balance between studying and other responsibilities.
Participation in academic, sports, special interest groups and community organizations il- lustrates a student’s interest in learning even when a grade isn’t at stake.
On the other hand, you can’t get too caught up in the rush to spend time on academics.
A middle school student told me one of her toughest challenges is homework.
It wasn’t the content she couldn’t handle, though—she said the toughest part was trying to do her homework in the car as her mom rushed from one obligation to the next.
During this season, I find myself similarly distracted by the rush from work obligation to family activity to church event and back again.
Last week, as our 4-H lamb show team members lined up 10 energetic lambs by BB&T for the lighting of the square, it was easy to get caught up in the rush.
So much to do, so little time, and please don’t let one of these lambs with antlers take off across the Square after seeing that crowd.
We were drawing a crowd as curious spectators petted the lambs and praised the 4-H’ers.
After an hour, the kids and lambs were getting jittery with the jingly antlers, though.
Then Santa and Mrs. Claus walked up.
I was concentrating on getting a good photo, making sure that there were no cars in the street, and finding a path through that huge crowd in front of the courthouse.
I was watching the time, and keeping an eye out for a cue so we’d know when to enter the event.
Then I saw the looks Santa was getting from each of the young 4H’ers. Amazement. For a few moments, the crowd cleared a large area around the group.
Ten young 4-H’ers and 10 prancing reindeer— oops, lambs—gathered around Mr. and Mrs. Claus, with the noise of the crowd seemingly fading away in the background.
The moment passed, and the flashes started again as everyone in Covington seemed to snap a photo.
For that one moment, though, I was reminded of how important the right now can be.
In 20 years, what moments will those elementary kids remember from 2010?
Will it be rushing from one activity to the next with stressed parents, or standing with their lambs and Santa one chilly night on the square?
I was about their age when my aunt folded herself into the Pink Pig with me atop the Rich’s building, and that’s a memory as fresh as yes- terday.
I don’t remember many specific gifts over the years, and I don’t remember any specific grades at school.
But I do remember time spent working with my parents on school projects, like the Apollo astronaut my mom and I sewed from shiny silver material, and the 3-way switch I built with my dad for 4-H.
We’re all preparing for something, whether it’s preparing a teen for the big applications or a younger child for Christmas.
As you make that checklist for college or Christmas, don’t forget LaMotte’s advice:
“There’s no time like the present, and there’s no present like time.”
(Top) The Newton County 4-H Lamb show team lines up in preparation for Santa and Mrs. Claus’s arrival on the square. (Above) 4-H’er Luke Wallace, a 2nd grader at Mansfield Elementary, prepares to lead Santa onto the Square. (Below) 5th grade 4-H’er Rachel Dabney, a student at Providence Christian Academy, and her lamb are ready to escort Santa and Mrs. Claus onto the square. (Bottom) Elizabeth Teasley, a 1st grader at Heard-Mixon Elementary, prepares her lamb to escort Santa and Mrs. Claus onto the square.