By Judy Berman
How do you see yourself? From childhood on, that image changes.
We might be transformed by the role-playing and clothes we wear, from frilly, princess frocks and tiaras to the ones we take on as adults.
When our granddaughter was 4, I wrote a story, “Kaitlyn’s Enchanted Wardrobe,” about her using photos from her party. The one that most caught my eye was of Kaitlyn standing in front of a mirror and her mother directly behind her.
What was Kaitlyn thinking as she wore that dress? I’d love to go back to that place and time in my own childhood. But, for me, it was probably some version of cowboys and Indians – I adored the Lone Ranger and Tonto.
In the story, Kaitlyn made a wish as she blew out the candles on her cake: “Oh, to meet a real princess.”
Her Mom, just smiled knowingly and said, “Any time you want to see a real princess, all you have to do is go to the looking glass.”
And, so Kaitlyn did.
In real life, it’s more of a challenge to see our potential when we do look in the mirror. Especially when other’s don’t share our view.
I tell my students to never let anyone tell them they can’t achieve their dream. Then, I tell them about a high school English teacher I had who nearly crushed mine.
When I asked if she’d give me a recommendation to college, she gave me an enthusiastic “yes.” But after I was turned down by three colleges, my Mom called the colleges and asked why.
It wasn’t my grades – which were not stellar. It was my high school English teacher’s “recommendation.” She’d written that I “didn’t have the stick-to-itiveness to make it through college.”
For some, that would have crushed their dreams. I told them, “My response is just watch me.”
One of my students asked: “What did you want to be?”
Well, I confessed, “in the long run, the teacher did me a favor.”
I had wanted to go to nursing school because Mom thought that was a good fit for me given how I’d cared for her and others when they were ill. Also, a few of my friends were already in or about to enter a nursing school.
I found, however, that I really loved to write and began taking classes in college that led to a career in radio and newspaper reporting. Later, I became an English teacher.
It took me 10 years – part time as I couldn’t afford to go to college full time – to get my associate’s degree at Onondaga Community College. Later, I got a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a master’s degree from University of Central Florida.
I’d loved to have bumped into that teacher and said: “How’s that for stick-to-itiveness?”
If you want an education, nothing can stop you. The same goes for pursuing your goals.
Never give up on your dreams.
Did you have a time when you were discouraged? How did you turn things around?
Photos from: Kaitlyn’s Enchanted Wardrobe – a story I wrote for our granddaughter when she was 4 years old. The photos are from her birthday party.