The Last Post of 2017 (Part 1)
One the last day of the last week of the last month of the year 2017 I would like to share three stories with you.
Story One – The Coat Sleeve.
In the 1980’s preschool Chinese children were mostly raised in community kindergartens. I was no exception. One day I was wearing a hand-me-down blue coat. It was wore by two of my older male cousins. By the time I wore it, it was showing signs of aging. For some reason the colour of the garment never faded and I loved the coat very much.
At the end of recess period that particular day I was caught off guard. Running like the wind I grazed past a construction site. Unbeknownst to me there was a loose metal wire hanging loose from the edge of the site. As I ran past it the wire suddenly dug into my coat’s right arm and stopped me cold in my tracks. I was immobilized. Unable to move, I used all my strength to pull at my arm. With a ripping sound my favourite coat became two pieces. Most of it was on me, but the right arm sleeve is now hanging on the metal wire, fluttering in the wind.
Back at the classroom the teacher scolded me: ” Why were you late?” “My coat was broken by a wire.” I answered. “I see you have an undamaged coat.” The teacher retorted. Moments earlier I rescued the missing piece from the wire and reassembled it back on to my arm. “No it truly is damaged.” I argued. Seeing that the teach will not take my word for it I knew I had to do the most obvious.
In front of all my classmates and the teacher I torn my right arm sleeve off. After a momentary startling silence, everyone started laughing their heads off, the teacher also joined in. I was frozen. I did not know it then but I was standing at a forked road in my life’s journey. I could either start to cry at the misfortune and the public humiliation or I could let it not bother me. They are obviously Laughing At Me but if I laughed harder, may be, just may be I can make them Laugh With Me.
So that’s what I decided to do, I started laughing. I laughed so loud and hard that tears started to form underneath my eyes. In term, others laughed even harder until finally the teacher told me to go to my seat.
From that day on, I decided that I was always going to ignore people’s attacks and turn it around. I realized that how we react to situations and people’s behaviours is ENTIRELY up to us. If we control the reaction we control the situation and we control the outcome. A potentially life scarring psychological tragedy can be turned into a happy memory of how I made 45 other humans laugh, single handedly… or single armedly.
Point of the story: We all have the power over our reactions to life events.
Story Two: The Skates
I moved to Canada when I was eleven and a half. My dad bought me loads of toys from garage sales before I even got here. Secretly I think he also loved the toys you can get over here. He bought me a pair of old skates which I really loved because I was an active boy.
Every chance I get I would go to the local frozen pond and practise my skating. I would borrow videos from the library and watch figure skating on TV. But no matter how hard I worked at it I was not getting very good. At hockey games I would always be the last one to get picked. I was slow and clumsy. Most of the times I couldn’t skate in a straight line. Which the other boys thought was important in winning a game. What do they know?
Over the next four years I kept working away at it. I improved slowly. I was faster but for some unfathomable reason I still skated in circles. Unfazed but notably discouraged, I gradually switched to baseball instead.
Finally I was moving out to go to University. Mom asked me to clear out my stuff from the basement. We were going to put up a garage sale. I dug out my old pair of skates and turned them over to put a price sticker on them. To my absolute astonishment I discovered that the left skate was a size 8-1/2 and the right skate was 9-1/4.
Sitting there, in the dark corner of my parent’s basement I had a gigantic moment of epiphany. I am NOT TERRIBLE at skating!!! I just had the wrong size skates! From that moment on I never doubted myself again. If a challenge seems too great I always say to myself: “Try a different pair of skates. Try a different angle. Try again tomorrow.” I vowed to never give up on anything because I know I can do anything I put my mind to.
Point of the story: We can do anything others can do, never doubt yourself.
Story number three “The Orange Backpack” continues in the next post…
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