Jacob’s Pledge

(Note: all bibliographic information, including the works cited page, has been removed from this essay)

A rite of passage that parents fear the most is the moment their child acquires a driver’s license.  According to the All-State Blog, this fear is well justified. Brendan O’Neill points out, “Even when a teen passes the driving test and is ‘legal,’ those worries don’t necessarily go away.” As a result, many parents find themselves saying, “It’s my job to worry.” In order to make “those worries” “go away,” a child must demonstrate responsibility. Proving this responsibility to my parents was a primary part of my transition into adulthood. I proved my responsibility by upholding a list of six guidelines that my family calls Jacob’s Pledge. By completing this list of achievements, I have been granted the responsibility of having my own car.

The first thing on the list was achieving High Honor Roll. I achieved this in both my sophomore year and in my junior year. With determination and hard work, I was able to achieve High Honor Roll twice my sophomore year and all four quarters in my junior year. This accomplishment was huge in both my eyes and my parents’. When I gave my speech (to what my mom calls “The Committee,” a group of close family members) I connected this accomplishment to the fifth item on the list–Commitment. Every night I studied before I did anything else. Knowing my tendency to easily procrastinate, this approach enabled me to achieve these grades.

Number two, playing lacrosse to the best of my ability, and number three, leadership, seem to naturally go hand in hand. To achieve these goals honestly and fully, I went to all of the optional open gyms and to every practice. I would even play in my backyard following “regular” practice. My coach noticed my determination and believed I had leadership skills. As a result, he named me co-captain both my sophomore and junior years. As co-captain, my teammates looked to both me and the other co-captains for guidance during drills. A benefit of acting in a leadership role was that I became good friends with my teammates. They identified that I was trying to help them improve their game and that I often had a reassuring word when they felt discouraged.

The remaining two expectations also seem to tie together–Character and Patience. My mom thinks that character is the most important. In striving to build my character and to make her proud, I made an additional effort to be kind to my peers and my community. For example, I served food to homeless individuals at a local soup kitchen in Arbor Hill multiple times. I also volunteered to distribute water to runners at a local 5k race fundraiser. What these two things have in common is that both the needy and the runners said “thank you” to me. Having so many people show their gratitude made me feel valuable. I believe feeling joy for others must be an indication of good character.

Patience, on the other hand, took me a little longer to achieve. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always lacked patience when it came to waiting in line and dealing with dishonesty. While I can’t say that I have much patience for dishonesty, I can now deal with waiting without reacting. In addition, I have learned patience by spending time with my grandmother who has Alzheimer’s. Her lack of memory frustrates both my mom and my aunt. However, I’m never impatient with my grandmother because I value the remaining time we have together.

After giving a speech to the “Committee,” in which I discussed the six aforementioned accomplishments, they decided that I earned the responsibility of having my own car. Interestingly, since having my own vehicle, I’ve also learned the value of money in a way I hadn’t appreciated before. In sum, Jacob’s Pledge provided me with invaluable lessons that facilitated my transition into adulthood.


About Jacob Ardman 423 Articles

Jacob Ardman is a senior at Clayton A. Bouton High School.