Never Listen to Someone Who Says “You Can’t.”

I just received my daughter Taylor’s progress report for her Algebra class.  She has a 98 percent.

Now, before you roll your eyes and say, “There he goes again, bragging about one of his kids,” please hang in there…yes, I’m bragging a tiny bit.  But, I have a point and there is a lesson to be learned.

Seeing Taylor’s Algebra grade made me smile…and made tears well up in my eyes.  Taylor is a bright kid, but math has always been a struggle.  Everybody is wired a little differently, and Taylor just happens to be one of those people that needs a little more time for mathematical concepts to sink in.

But, when Taylor was younger, it was something that truly worried my wife Jana and me.  Should we get a tutor?  Is she falling behind?  What should we do?

When Taylor was in fourth grade and our fears were probably at their highest point, we were at parent/teacher conferences.  We shared our concerns with her teacher, and this is what he said:

“Well, college isn’t for everybody.”

College isn’t for everybody.  I can still hear these words hanging in the air as if it happened yesterday.  Now, it is true…college isn’t for everybody.  But, Jana and I were not about to give up on our nine-year-old daughter.

I don’t think we’ve ever shared this story with Taylor and if she’s reading this blog (hi, sweetie!), she might be hearing this for the first time.  In fact, I’m not sure Jana and I ever really discussed it.  We just went back to life as usual.  We created an expectation in Taylor and her sisters…work hard, get good grades, go to college.

As the years went by, Taylor simply grew up.  She became more focused.  She developed good study habits.  And, while math has never been easy, she’s always done okay.

A couple months ago, I went to the mail box.  There was a letter from the Central Michigan University admissions office.  My heart was pounding through my chest.  I yelled up the steps, “Taylor…come down here, there’s something in the mail for you.”

As Taylor opened the envelope, I was literally shaking…then, I saw a big smile cross her face, and tears of joy and relief began to stream down her face.  Jana and I ran up the steps and hugged her, sharing a good cry.  It was simply one of the most beautiful and proud moments of my life.

Taylor is in.  College.  Central Michigan University, Class of 2015.

And the great lesson to be learned?  Never, ever let someone’s negativity stop you from focusing on your goal.  Believe in yourself.  Work hard.  It might not be easy.  But, you can do it.

Great job, Taylor.  You proved him wrong.

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