The Ultimate Gift for My Grandpa
Andrew Koudelka: Grade 11-12 – 2nd Place Winner
2018 What Homeschooling Has Helped Me Achieve Essay Contest
It was always Mother’s dream to homeschool me; however, Dad’s preference was for me to attend a private school instead.
Mother’s dream finally came true when Dad allowed her to homeschool me after I had encountered a life-changing experience, one that I will have to cope with for the rest of my life.
I am very grateful that my mother devoted her time and energy to homeschooling, for it has provided me with a superior education, enabled me to spend cherished moments with my grandfather, and allowed me to grow spiritually.
Homeschooling has truly been a blessing, for it has provided me with a superior education while still meeting my special diabetic needs. At the age of six, my life changed drastically when I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, an autoimmune disorder that destroys the beta cells which produce insulin. Although I had an excellent diet, exercised regularly, and was physically fit, this terrible disease afflicted me.
I often felt extreme fatigue and sometimes found it difficult to concentrate. Because of my diabetic health issues, Mother decided to homeschool me to manage my diabetes and to develop a flexible schedule that supported a healthy, active lifestyle.
Homeschooling has enabled Mother to customize my education for my weak areas, strengths, interests, and learning style. This approach has allowed me to become strong in all areas, enabling me to me excel in my courses. Homeschooling has helped me to develop confidence, to achieve goals, and to receive an excellent education while managing my diabetes.
Additionally, homeschooling has enabled me to spend precious moments with my grandfather and to learn valuable lessons from him. After Grandpa had heart surgery, he came to live with my family for several months on many different occasions. I was elated! Because of homeschooling, I was able to spend unlimited hours with Grandpa while still completing my lessons.
Cheerfully reminiscing about old times, Grandpa loved to tell stories from the past for hours, and I always listened with an avid interest. Grandpa enjoyed my presence too, for I gave him great comfort and joy during his time of suffering.
From my grandfather, I also learned many valuable life lessons. I watched him patiently bear his great sufferings with a pleasant disposition and in union with Christ. He never complained, even though walking and performing his daily activities were a great struggle. I was very blessed to be with Grandpa during his last days.
My flexible schedule allowed me to make frequent trips to the hospital and to bring great comfort to Grandpa, who was always overjoyed to see me. On the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, God took Grandpa to his eternal home.
Moments before Grandpa died, he uttered a beautiful prayer and exclaimed that Mother Mary was coming for him now. I no longer fear death because I have witnessed how peaceful death is for God’s faithful servants. I am very grateful that homeschooling enabled me to minister to my grandfather and to spend cherished moments with him.
Finally, homeschooling has enabled me to grow spiritually. My flexible schedule allowed me to spend valuable time with Grandpa and to observe his great spirituality.
Grandpa would always invite me to participate in his devotions, and I was always delighted to join him. He always made daily prayer a top priority, praying beautiful prayers of thanksgiving to Jesus. He also attended weekly Eucharistic Adoration and never missed a Sunday Mass throughout his entire lifetime.
During difficult times, his great faith in God never wavered. My grandfather’s immense love for Jesus has motivated me to develop a strong, personal relationship with God and has increased my love for Him. Furthermore, Mother’s great spirituality has also been an inspiration to me.
I have been so blessed to have her as my religion teacher because she deeply loves Jesus and treasures the Catholic faith. With great fervor, she has taught me the doctrines of the faith and has been a powerful testimony to the love of Christ. Her hands are continuously filled with overflowing love for me and for others.
In my moments of fear and doubt, Mother always comforts me with scriptural verses that give me encouragement. Psalm 23:4 is one of my favorite passages: “Even though
I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me.” Because of Mother’s example, I, too, cherish my faith and am inspired to love as Christ loved. Homeschooling has empowered me with great spiritual growth through Grandpa’s and Mother’s examples of faith, love, and trust in the Lord.
Homeschooling has truly been the ultimate gift, providing me with a superior education, enabling me to spend precious moments with Grandpa, and increasing my spirituality.
Even though Dad was initially against homeschooling, he is now a strong advocate because he has seen how it has benefited me. I will be forever grateful to Mother for her great devotion to homeschooling and for ensuring that I receive the best education possible.
About Andrew Koudelka
Andrew Koudelka, a native Texan, enjoys biking, photography, and creative writing. In his free time, he loves to take pictures of nature and flowers, incorporating special photography effects. He also enjoys undertaking home improvements and is particularly fascinated by technology. Some of his favorite projects include assembling a 3D printer and a CNC router. Andrew treasures his faith and loves to read spiritual books. Among his favorites are The Holy Bible and The Imitation of Christ. He serves as a volunteer for the Social Concerns Ministry with his parish, finding great fulfillment in helping needy families. After graduating from high school, he plans to attend the University of Houston.