He cleaned his quarters to make room for T square and drawing board

If you believe in what you're doing, and believe in the people with whom you're doing it, miracles happen. My son cleaned his room!

Nearly 17, and a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship competition, he decided he wants to become an architect. He very soon saw the irony of such aspirations when his home base in such disarray, and he cleaned his room.

It was as simple as that. (Or was it?)

This is the same young man who, less than five months ago, had me searching for an answer to the question of how someone with such intelligence, wit, and filial concern managed to create and survive in what seemed like an environment of total neglect. (His sister disagreed. She said he was a bee gathering nectar from many flowers. But flowers are so messy?)

Needless to say, I'm overjoyed. And mostly for David.

Over and over again during the past several years, I've searched for an answer to the dilemma of his messy room,

Laughing when all else failed because he was so honest about the chaos therein. But my faith never wavered. My patience wore thin; my concern grew as he did, but I always believed in David and told him so even when totally exasperated.

Now he believes in himself.

He has found a job as an apprentice to the only local architect specializing in solar energy -- Davidhs long been a vocal and letter-writing proponent of alternative energy forms -- and his room is almost Spartan now. All nonessentials have been jettisoned. Obvious are drawing board, paper, pencils, T square, and compass. He can lay his hands on anything he needs within minutes. There are real issues to grapple with, and he's prepared.

Relegated to the upstairs are his trumpet (he played third trumpet with the prizewinning high school band). Also stashed away for now are his music and some other hobbies and interests that he may pursue later on. But for now architecture and energy are on his mind.

He has more fun than ever before because he's pleased with himself. And though he doesn't play trumpet anymore, he has an understanding of jazz and classical music that makes listening a real pleasure for him. Happier with himself, he's sharing more with us, and now we're all becoming avid, informed jazz fans, too.

He chooses friends more easily because he accepts his rather esoteric calling.

And he's just generally a much easier, more interesting, and interested person to be with.

I get a special thrill whenever I walk by his room now and see the order. That's portable feast to me and one he takes with him wherever he goes.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.