“Patience is a virtue.” I utter this phrase to my son at least 4 to 5 times a week. Patience is something that I know a lot about. At this time, 5 years ago, my son and I were homeless. He was getting ready to start Kindergarten in the fall and we had no place to live. I was working 7 days a week at 2 jobs and each time I applied for an apartment they told me, “You need to make more money.” I remember the day my patience broke. My son and I were sitting in the motel room I had rented, it was cold and raining and he snuggled up under my arm and told me it was fun living in a motel. But it wasn’t fun living out of garbage bags, in a dingy motel room that smelled like mold and old cigarette smoke. As he fell asleep, I cried. It was then I had to find my strength, my purpose, and my drive. I pushed forward from that day with one goal in mind, make a better life for my family.
The road to get there was full of bumps and obstacles; my car broke down, I had emergency surgery to remove a tumor, and my son had pneumonia – but I kept moving forward. Since that day, we’ve gotten an apartment, and I’ve earned my Associates, Bachelor and Master’s degrees. I have one job, working 7 days a week, and I get to spend more time with my son. My drive is still the same, my strength is still the same, but my purpose is a bit different. Now, I want to make the world better for my family. I started my Doctorate program in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology in May 2018, with a focus on creating positive change for LGBTQ children and their families within the community.
While I still believe that patience is a virtue, I also believe that if you want to see positive things happen, make them happen. Today, my little boy is 9 years old and he still remembers “living” in the motel. Each night when I sit down to pour through hours of reading, writing papers and research, I try to remember my purpose. Every now and then he will ask me why I am still in school. Each time, I reply the same way, “For my world.” He always looks at me puzzled and walks away. One day I will finish that statement for him, “For my world. Because you my son, are my world.”
The Jim Collins Foundation has literally changed my life. Not only have they helped me get life changing surgery, but they have also added the light, love, acceptance, understanding and pure kindness that is found in each one of its members. I will be forever grateful.Xander Rice