I finished Grade 8 with "Student of the Year" honours given by the teaching staff. Apparently, I had the right mix of high grades and athleticism with a pleasing demeanour. Hilarious, I know.
I wore a pure white suit to Grade 8 graduation ... looking back, I'm not sure what was more ridiculous, the award or that gleaming white suit.
Because I was quite the studious little guy I decided with my own free will that I would take a Grade 9 "keyboarding" (aka typing) class during summer before starting my first year of high school.
I was an eager beaver ... still am I think.
Anyway, the class was full of Grade 9 students going into Grade 10. Many had failed this class during Grade 9 and were back to take it again.
Needless to say, there were a few of the typical loudmouths and bullies in the class that made my first high school experience even a little more intimidating than needed.
To make matters worse, far worse in my opinion, I was struggling with the typing. The typewriters (yes, typewriters) were difficult to manage ... especially that darn return key that shook the whole machine when with the carriage return.
I was failing the blind typing tests pretty badly and I wasn't used to failing ... at anything.
So I did what any self-respecting A student would do to not tarnish his early high school record.
I cried about it and asked, pleaded, with my Mom to take me out of the class.
It was horrible, it wasn't what I anticipated, no friends were in the class with me, the kids were much crueller than in Grade 8 and it seemed like the world was coming to an end.
I was an emotional disaster ... over "typing".
Ridiculous I now know.
Luckily, my mother kindly dragged me back to class convincing me that I could do it. She gave me several pep talks. I was a good guy, a special guy, I could do it ... she knew I could ... and I would be glad I did.
I really looked up to my parents and for some reason, I hesitantly believed her and emotionally crawled back into the class after missing two full days.
In summer school two full days was like the max I could miss without being kicked out.
A few days later another boy in the class had some kind of issue and missed a day.
The teacher explained to the class that he would be coming back the next day and that he was crying at home about the class ... but not to mention anything.
To my shock and absolute horror, I realized that she must have said the same thing about me!
She told everyone I was a crybaby.
I literally sunk into my seat like a little puddle of emotional quicksand.
It was horrible.
As the days passed as struggled forward and somehow managed to pass the blind typing tests with few enough mistakes to pass with a decent mark.
I went on to finish my first year of high school with a 93 percent average. Won a few awards.
Everything changed in Grade 11 when I got my first car but that's a story for another day.
What's the point in sharing this?
The other day a first-time real estate investor called in explaining their struggles. How they had to find a tenant for a property but were busy with life. How it was difficult to find the time for everything.
How it was difficult to balance work, family and their property.
They wanted to quit. To sell the property and be done with it.
They wanted to be at home with their kids and spouse ... not dealing with their investment.
We became the loving parent and explained that now wasn't the time for balance.
When accomplishing a new goal having "balance" in your life isn't possible ... no matter how many best selling books are written on the subject.
Nope, now was the time for massive action and stress.
We're actually sick and tired of hearing about all the people who tell us that you accomplish great things with great balance in your life and little stress.
Now was the time to get the job done. To focus and get into action. To make a list, then do everything on it.
Once it was complete they would have lots of time for everything important for them ... but for now, they needed to put blinders on and concentrate on the finish.
They crawled back into action, hesitantly, and after a few trying days completed the task and were absolutely ecstatic about their accomplishment.
Proud of themselves.
And they should be.
They didn't give up when many would. And they're infinitely better off for it.
Nothing will stand in their way now. They have a brand new confidence and more importantly a brand new self-image.
We had become the firm, loving, parents that have helped us out so many times.
Finishing that keyboarding class in Grade 9, in some small way, shaped who I am today ... and I'm very grateful for it.
If you have the opportunity to be someone's firm but loving parent go for it.
We all need someone to push us.
And if you're reading this struggling with something ... push forward, march on, keep going, don't look back.
Having some stress for a period of time isn't bad. It shapes you and the rewards at the end are amazing.
Things are never as difficult as they seem.
There's a reason the phrase, "It's always darkest before dawn," is a called a cliche.
Because it's right.
You can do it. And you will.
By the way ... you should see how fast I can type these days 🙂
Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!