In my last post,
I Did Not Fail You
I wrote that I made a promise to myself, and one of our friends stephenedwards425 (Who has a great blog, you should really check it out)
asked if I would consider elaborating on this promise to myself, so I decided to, and I also decided to have a little fun with it.
The year was 1983.
Jim was trying to fit in, trying to find that all important popular click in Jr. High.
He was an ok student up until this point, but something changed that year in eighth grade.
Jim started hanging around with kids he thought were popular, the smokers, the outsiders, the kids that seemed to be living their lives their way, doing what ever they wanted, the bad boys.
This was so appealing to our impressionable young Jim, that he made the decision that school did not matter, and no one, was going to tell him what to do anymore.
His grades began to slip, he was just barely passing, he stopped actively taking gym class (although he really liked sports)
He began talking back to his teachers, and being disrespectful to those who were not part of the group, he turned his back on his parents,(what did they know anyways)
All to impress his new friends.
Trouble mounted for Jim,
he was in trouble at home because of his grades, his mother told him “If you fail you wont be going to summer school, you will repeat the eighth grade. Is that what you want?”
Our troubled teen did not care.
Trouble seemed to follow Jim where ever he went, detentions for not doing homework, suspension for getting caught smoking at school, plenty of blood pouring out of his nose up on the hill, trying to prove his strength.
Then the end of the school year came, Jim had to hand over his last report card of the year to his parents.
(it turns out mom and dad did know a thing or two)
Although it was riddled with “D”‘s and a “C” or two, that “F” shone like a lighthouse on a dark foggy night.
Well a summer of punishment came and went for poor Jim, being grounded to the house for the summer, having to do all the chores of the house, while his siblings were free to do what they wanted.
The following year of school did not change for Jim, he did not advance to the ninth grade, he did not have enough credits. He had to repeat the entire eighth grade, but he did improve his grades to “A”‘s and “B”s, to avoid the cruel punishment of housework at home.
Then it happened, somewhere’s near the end of the school year, after having it boil up inside him all year, looking to blame anyone but himself, Jim went to room 204, Mr. Lucia’s classroom, and asked his teacher.
Why did you fail me last year, in a voice filled with anger, and elevated blood pressure.
Mr Lucia calmly replied
“I did not fail you, you failed yourself !!!
I gave you all the tools you needed, you chose not to use them”.
Not knowing how to deal with this answer, with not even a single word, Jim simply turned and walked out.
After a week or so of trying to understand what Mr. Lucia had said to him, Jim finally figured it out.
And that is when “the turning point” in Jim’s young life happened.
He took a long hard look at himself, and came to the realization that his “cool” friends were nothing but bullies and soon to be drop-outs, and Jim, really did not want to be part of this click anymore.
Jim went to see his guidance counselor, together they figured out a schedule for Jim to take all his required ninth grade course’s and his tenth and eleventh grade electives, in his to be freshman year.
Also they figured out a schedule for tenth and eleventh grade in one year, if he could pull off ninth grade with the added electives. On the way out of the guidance office Jim heard a voice say ” please don’t disappoint me”
That is the day when Jim made the promise to himself, that if he was going to do something, that if he was going to put his time and effort in to it, he was going to do it to the best of his ability, and see it to the end, no matter how hard it was.
Jim’s freshman year came and went, he disassociated himself from the bad boy crew (although it wasnt easy, they do not like losing followers) and set his sights on the task at hand.
Jim received “A”s and one “B” his freshman year.
Well, needless to say our young hero excelled the following year, he was now in tenth grade. He received all “A”s and one “A-“, and because of his efforts was able to skip eleventh grade, and graduate on time with his original class.
The funny thing is, in the end, Jim did not have to go looking for the
“cool , popular ” kids, they came to him, and those friendships still endure today, 25 years later.
Those values from “the turning point” in Jim’s younger days still hold true today.