When Addy Dixon was asked to share her Winston Churchill speech at Eagle Brook Church last month, she didn’t flinch. She rarely flinches. That’s not because she’s super human. She’s not. She’s as human as anyone else. But she didn't flinch. And if she was nervous, it didn’t show.
When Addy’s mom, Jennica, knew her daughter was going to be standing on a platform, reciting that speech, in front of thousands (and thousands and thousands…) of people multiple times in two days, she may have flinched a little. But then she got it under control.
Addy is a 5th grader here at Liberty Classical. Her precociousness and zeal make her stand out among her peers. And while some would say there are other things that make her stand out as well, here’s what we’ve discovered:
Courageous leadership, which is one of Liberty Classical’s Body of Values, doesn’t start when a child becomes a teenager or a college student or a husband or wife or a senator or accountant or anything else. Just like all of our values (like educational excellence, undaunted perseverance, loving relationships, etc.), courageous leadership isn’t something we want our students to aspire to. It's something we want them to embody. It’s something that we want to give them tools to practice.
The courageous leadership that Addy showed us on the platform at Eagle Brook is matched by the leadership we see in her parents. They don’t shield their daughter from scrutiny; they launch her. They don’t ignore challenges, they expect them and then calibrate.
If you haven’t read Jennica Dixon’s blog, you should. It’s filled with honest thoughts from a gifted writer. It’s filled with reflections that many parents either have felt or would feel in Jennica and Keith’s shoes. It’s a series of pieced-together stories and moments from parents just like you and me, who are navigating their way through parenting and schooling and commutes and jobs and marriage and life.
Families That Inspire
So we’d like to honor the Dixon family.
We’d like to honor Addy, not just for standing on stage and perfectly (as far as we could tell) executing her speech and graciously fielding Bob Merritt’s questions, and not just because of the work she puts into everything she does. We’d like to honor her for demonstrating courageous leadership to all of us, for not letting circumstances slow her down, and for being cool and calm enough under pressure to make Liberty look like the greatest place that’s ever existed.
We’d also like to honor Keith and Jennica, because parenting is hard work even on a good day. And because the courageous leadership it took to expose your beautiful 10-year-old daughter to the vulnerability and potential disasters of that weekend at Eagle Brook Church inspires us to never hold our children back.
Courageous leadership is more than some abstract aspiration. It’s something for today. It’s something that we do in the midst of fear. It’s a willingness to push through barriers and push back darkness.
Thank you, Dixon family, for being part of our community. Thank you for being human alongside us and willingly sharing from your challenges. Thank you for showing us courageous leadership.
Check out Addy’s talk with Bob Merritt at Eagle Brook below! Watch the entire service by clicking here (skip to 24:30 for Addy's segment)