Searching for the Joya’s of Our Day
By Ed Delph
April 2, 2018
This week I had the privilege of writing a recommendation for a high school student at Northwest Christian School who lives in Peoria, Arizona. JoyAnna is her formal name but her friends call her Joya. She is applying for scholarships at Wheaton College in Illinois, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States. She has been accepted into Wheaton’s Conservatory of Music in Vocal Performance. Here is what I wrote about Joya to Wheaton.
“Every once in a while, we meet someone special with what I would call the ‘It’ Factor. My wife and I have known Joya since she was a small girl. She impressed me then with her alacrity and sweet spirit. She impresses me now even more than then. Her beautiful disposition, her incredible talent, her impeccable character and her willingness to work hard to be the best have only grown as she has grown. Another amazing thing to me about Joya is everyone I know both likes and respects her, especially her peers. That’s quite an achievement when navigating the teenage years. She is a devoted Christian young woman who serves on short term missions in places like Cambodia. She is an inspiration to people.
I remember occasionally playing along with her as she learned the guitar. She was the most willing learner I have ever met. What amazes me is her willingness to learn and the effort she puts into it.
Recently, I attended her final high school play, her swan song, as they call it. She has been in musicals and productions since her freshman days in high school, perhaps even before that. This time was special. She was the librarian in the play The Music Man. That is the lead role. She stunned me with both her singing and acting.
After the play when I went to congratulate her, I started crying tears of joy for Joya. I think she was worried about me. I’m not all that sentimental but Joya got to me. She inspired me. She has grown from a girl to a young woman. I have a feeling the best is yet to come.
All of what I have said above is what I mean by the ‘It’ factor. She has incredible innate capacity. Please inspire and equip Joya in further developing her competency to unleash her God-given capacity to be all that God intends her to be. Sincerely and truthfully, Dr. Ed Delph.”
You might be thinking this is too good to be true. You might be thinking Ed is biased because of his relationship with her. Believe me, I have not hyped this recommendation. I toned it down. I undersold Joya. In the Music Man presentation, I could point out several other young adults in the production that are like Joya. They are all friends and probably will be friends for a lifetime.
The truth is there are still lots of young people like Joya out there. You might know them. They are at your children’s high school too. People like Joya don’t get media attention. They aren’t status seekers or bizarre. They are just themselves. Joya doesn’t try to be who she is. She is who she is. She lives out of her real nature. It’s who she is privately and publicly. People like Joya stand out because they are outstanding.
Maybe it’s time we start searching for more of the Joya’s on this earth. I see many like Joya in countries both here and all over the world. Why search for them? Because they are people to emulate. They lift people up. They elevate others. They ascend and bring others with them. They are self-aware and others-aware.
I’m not trying to be critical of or neglecting others who may not be Joya types. What I am pointing out here is the neglected importance of the uplifting influence of Joya’s in this world today.
What’s the best vitamin to take to be a Joya type in your area of talent? B-1 and then B-2.
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com