Leslie Myrick, Svante’s mom

Svante Myrick is brave, fair, and kind. His favorite quotation is, “Fate loves the fearless.” If asked how he got through a difficult situation, he will reply, “Grit.” He is scrupulously fair; unswayed by emotion or faulty reasoning. He has an unerring sense of the objective truth.


Perhaps most importantly, he is unfailingly kind in his response to others. Always. “The quality of mercy is not strain’d. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.  It is enthroned in the hearts of kings.”


The incident that defines Svante in my mind took place when he was about thirteen. It was at an athletic event, probably a basketball game. The gymnasium was crowded, and Svante had briefly left his seat in the bleachers. When he returned, a younger boy had taken his place. I watched from a distance as Svante spoke to the boy, and the boy shook his head in refusal. I saw Svante glance briefly into the upper stands, then turn back to the boy. My mother’s heart waited anxiously. Would he push him? Shove him? Take back his seat by force? Svante smiled at the boy, rumpled his hair, and leapt nimbly up into the bleachers to another seat. Whereupon, the boy to the left of the defiant youth turned to him, and, punching him, demanded, “What did you do that for?!”


This incident stands out because it was at that moment I realized, with a mixture of wonder and humility, that Svante, at thirteen, had surpassed me in moral conduct and reasoning.

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