Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Never give up on yourself

I learned a lot from my two teachers that summer. I got better at math and learned to solve problems without the help of Texas Instruments. I got better at writing fiction and wrote a lengthy piece that was read aloud in class on our last day of summer school. I got better at balancing home stress and school responsibilities.
I got A’s.
I learned a lot at home that summer, too. I learned that my parents loved me deeply, even though I’d let school slip. I learned my three older siblings believed I was capable of anything. I learned to take more responsibility for my actions and to look inward at problems and upward to heaven for solutions.
I learned to pray.
I sailed through the next year and did well as my father lived cancer-free until my junior year of high school. When it returned and later claimed his life during the winter break between semesters, I easily remembered the lessons of 1984.
It's summer again and every year I spend some time counting and reflecting on those lessons. I suppose I also count my failures since that heavy report card, and I find there have been many. But, thankfully, I’ve also been blessed with just enough successes like summer school to remind me that I am not defined by the failure, but by the response.
Sometimes I think I hear the voice of that nervous 13-year-old boy reminding me that with faith, love, perseverance and by forgiving myself, I will always be capable of advancing from one trial to the next with straight A's.
He tells me that I am not destined to be retained.
Neither are you.

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