What To Do In The Face of Challenge - A Reflection on the Importance of Writing

When I was a freshman in high school my English teacher asked to speak with me after class. He began the conversation by asking me if English was my first language. Puzzled, I answered, "Yes". He followed up by telling me that he was concerned about my language abilities, particularly in writing. He then ended the conversation by telling me that I would probably never get into college and should consider other options post graduation. Keep in mind, I still had three more years to go in high school.

Did this experience tear me down? YES, absolutely. After all, I was a teenager attending a new school and inexperienced with how to deal with this type of situation. I've only shared this story with a handful of individuals. However, I felt compelled to share this story as it's important to talk openly about overcoming challenges.

So, what did I do? I started writing! That's right! I asked friends for writing tips (this was pre-Google days) and to review my essays before I submitted them. I made it my GOAL to get better at writing. Although his delivery was untactful and brash, he sent me a clear message that I sucked at writing. And in the face of this challenge, I saw two options in front of me, I could either cry and feel sorry for myself or I could motivate myself to overcome this challenge. 

This is just one of many distinctive and pivotal moments in my life. These kinds of  moments are so impactful that when you replay them in your mind, it still feels raw and vivid.

I visit these snapshots in my memory banks as a reminder of my inner strength and the desire to avoid making others feel horrible when the truth can be shared in a much kinder and compassionate way. 

The most important lesson of this story is that we are all learners and in that process we remain fragile as we progress through unknown and often times rocky terrain. As a teacher, I know that words alone can lift and strengthen a student OR forever inhibit the potential energy and spark that resides in each one.

The second lesson I share is the value of writing itself and how that pivotal moment actually helped me to find love and joy in this craft. And as I reflect on the last twenty years, writing has enabled me to connect my professional dreams together as a business owner, teacher, freelance developer, and author. Writing is the aho (line, cord, lashing) by which I can build with.

As 2022 approaches, I feel compelled to write more, document, slow down, and capture the many changing scenes. And if you are interested in doing the same, I'll be delighted to read your stories someday!