It’s the beginning of a New Year, the time when people like to set goals for themselves and then feel bad when their enthusiasm lags. Goal setting has always worked for me. Well, when I really commit to them.
My father started a small Christian school that began my eighth grade of school. He asked if I wanted to attend. My reply, “No way.” The school required uniforms and I felt it beneath me to being told how to dress. I had always been a shy, don’t draw attention to yourself but always stick up for the underdog kind of kid. In seventh grade I wanted to be accepted, not a hidden outcast. I remember deciding to compromise my standards in order to increase my non-existent popularity. Peer pressure is a real thing. At this point God intervened. Somehow, I don’t remember how it happened but I changed my mind that summer between seventh and eighth grade, about attending this new school with its red, white and blue uniforms. So patriotic. I began telling my friends how great it was going to be. Once I was tested, it set the level I would begin at. I worked at my own pace. We were taught to set daily goals for the week and cross them off when completed. For someone like me, this structure work well. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. Administration is one of my top strength. More importantly, the emotionally safety the school provided allowed me to flourish. There were only fifty of us ranging in age from second to tenth grade. We all were in one room and it became my second home. I felt like I could be myself. In this environment, I learned more about my creative side too. I still didn’t like the uniforms, none of us did, but there were ways to earn special privileges. I did whatever was needed to get these desired privileged that allowed me to leave my seat without raising my hand or flag. So patriotic. There was even a monthly cubical decorating contest. The person who won the trophy the most weeks got to take it home at the end of the year. I worked hard for this too, even if I had a couple rivals who gave me a run for it. I loved being creative. I did go back to public school for one year in high school. I guess I wanted to see how I’d fit. I remember counting the cost to making compromises to be popular and realized I was no longer willing to do that. It felt good to know I had grown. I went back to my private school and completed a year early in the second year of graduates, with eleven other students. I’m thankful for the change which took place at such a critical time in my life. Change isn’t easy but it is necessary to our personal growth.