I Believe in Austin

Brandy - Cohutta, Georgia
Entered on February 29, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Austin is an eight year old boy. He also happens to be my son. Like many eight year old

boys, he is a rambunctious young man who enjoys his bike and his Playstation 2. He hates

homework and loves to tease his sister. But unlike other eight year old boys, he has faced a few

challenges in his young life that have caused him some difficulty in becoming the confident

young man that I know he will someday be.

Austin’s first challenge came when his father moved on to begin a new family with a new

wife and two new sons. Austin had been extremely close to his father and the two of them spent

a lot of time together in Austin’s early years. Their bond was strengthened by the hours of

attention and affection that Austin received from his “Dad”. Unfortunately, these good times

came to a crashing halt when Austin’s father remarried and started a new family. Suddenly

Austin was no longer the center of his Dad’s attention, and he was forced to watch from the

outside as his father spent all of his time with his new children. This feeling of hurt and betrayal

has taken a toll on Austin. He has feelings of insecurity and depends on me more than many

boys of his age. He has difficulty in trusting others, and is often apprehensive about his home


Another challenge Austin faces is his difficulty with schoolwork and concentration. While

most boys are rough and tumble and don’t like schoolwork, Austin’s difficulty with his

schoolwork goes beyond the typical aversion that many boys his age have. He is undergoing an

extensive evaluation to determine the root cause of his difficulties. A preliminary theory is that

he may have an auditory processing disorder. This means that he may have problems

interpreting the meaning of much of what he hears, thereby limiting his ability to perform well

in school or follow directions. He does not have attention deficit disorder, which was

commonly attributed to him by others. His intelligence is frequently hidden by his learning

difficulties, but it is clearly present when he allows it to be seen. He frequently reveals an

amazing ability to remember lines from movies that he has seen only once, sometimes several

months prior to reciting the lines. He has also shown a dramatic improvement in his

mathematics performance after receiving individualized instruction from an after school program

and a private tutor.

So why do I believe in a boy with these challenges facing him? I believe in Austin because I

see in him the determination to keep trying until he gets things right. He takes special enjoyment

in family activities such as outdoor walks, playing with his baby sister, and showing off his

schoolwork when he has done well. He is a typical kid who wants security and love, and he will

do well now that he is receiving these things. His problem with auditory processing has slowed

his academic progress, but it has also caused him to retain a certain innocence that is not usually

found in boys his age. This “Peter Pan” quality makes it hard to stay mad at him for long. I

believe in Austin because he is a good kid, and in the right environment and with the right

people surrounding him, I believe he will begin to overcome the obstacles placed in his path.

Many of the world’s most successful people had difficulty starting out in life. Often, their

unique way of thinking or unorthodox way of approaching a problem is what distinguishes them

later in life and yet causes them to be singled out as “not like everyone else” early on in life. I

believe Austin is one of these unique people, and I believe that it is just a matter of time before

his true ability is recognized and celebrated by those who may have doubted him along the way.

I believe in Austin because I believe in love and family, and I know that he is blessed with both

now. He may still be a diamond in the rough, but I believe that he will someday shine the