Memorable Experience

1224 words | 5 page(s)

This story is the experience of a friend of mine; the events happened to him but, as his close friend, I had a front row seat on the situation. It left a profound effect on me as well as my friend. As I wrote the story, I became nostalgic about my childhood and the lessons I learned. Some of those lessons took a longer time to sink into my head than others. Some of the most teachable moments happened to me directly, and at other times I learned vicariously through the experiences of people close to me. This story was one of those times I learned from a distance, but it remains one of my most memorable and useful lessons so far. One cannot overstate the importance of good teachers in positively influencing a student’s life.

There was an unwritten rule among the students that one should be good in at least something whether it is academics or sports if not both. Luckily, for me I was good in both. In bold contrast to me was a friend of mine named John that struggled in both and as a result, suffered from an inferiority complex. Making matters worse was the fact that he would often be nagged at home due to disappointing news from school; even teachers were not much help. Even I could tell that our teachers mostly assumed John lacked motivation and work ethics. Being John’s close friend, I knew John worked hard but the results didn’t reflect it. I knew this because we would often study and play together which means he was putting equal efforts into both academics and sports. He would even ask me for suggestions and would follow my advice religiously, but without much results. My conclusion was that John simply lacked talent and little did I know I could not have been more wrong.

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The best thing to John happened in the form of Ms. Jenny, who became our new homeroom teacher. She was unlike any other teacher we had studied under. What differentiated her from others was the fact that she encouraged every student to do their best- especially those who were struggling. She would say positive things about everyone whether they were a high achiever or a struggling student. She would make serious efforts to know each student individually, and even altered her instruction methods to suit the learning styles of certain students. She was so easy to talk to that for the first time I saw students going to her office to talk about personal problems they would never talk about with an elder, not even their own parents. This also gave courage to John and he asked me to go with him to Ms. Jenny’s office. As soon as we sat Ms. Jenny addressed John, “What would you like to talk about?” “I am just not good in anything; I have no talent at all. I struggle in studies and I struggle in sports even though I try my best”, John replied back.

Ms. Jenny immediately sensed the sense of helplessness in John’s voice and asked him to look her in the eyes, “John, remember what Einstein said? He said everyone is a genius. If one judges a fish on its ability to climb, the fish will believe its whole life it is stupid. You have a special talent and talent is not limited to one or two things. You just have to find out what you are good at and once you find that, you will know how special you are!” Ms. Jenny proceeded to add, “John, promise me you will find out what you are good at and show the world how good you are because I know that is true but the world doesn’t know yet.” As I looked at John’s face, I could tell no one had ever said such kind words to him before. No one had ever shown such strong belief in him. John didn’t have to say anything; the tears in his eyes told me everything there was to say.

After we left, John turned towards me and said, “Ms. Jenny is the first person to say what I have always wanted to hear.” John added that Ms. Jenny is indeed right; everyone has a special talent, even him. His parents and most teachers only pay attention to sports and academics. This is when John disclosed that he enjoys painting and not drawing figures but abstract art. This was the first time I had heard about the term ‘abstract art’ yet John displayed significant knowledge on the topic including painters that had made a name for themselves. I could not help but wonder what passion could do to a person. John was not only working hard at academics and sports but also painting. He didn’t have the courage to reveal this side because he thought no one would be interested. All he needed was the encouragement no one provided until Ms. Jenny came along. John’s academic and sports performance remained same after meeting with Ms. Jenny, but his outlook on life became more positive. He stopped worrying about little things because Ms. Jenny taught him people are not same and have different abilities. He would now look more content with himself because he also started spending more time on his true passion of abstract painting. His craft removed at such a rapid pace that he had started selling some of his creations by high school. The income from sales was more than enough to help John fund his college education at an art school in New York City.

Today, John is a successful abstract painter who has had exhibitions in major cities like New York and Boston. Of all the students in middle school, I believe John is the most successful in his field which is ironic, since he used to think of himself as the least talented. In fact, he might have been the least successful if he was not fortunate enough to come across Ms. Jenny. She gave him the push he needed to focus on his true talent. This incident taught me several valuable lessons. First of all, people have different abilities and one cannot judge everyone on the same criteria. In a way, our education system is flawed to some extent. I also learned that encouraging someone can make a huge difference in a person; they are motivated when someone shows trust in their potential. It is also important to make an effort to understand others and the process starts with attentive listening. Another lesson from the whole incident was that one should not worry about others’ opinions, because it only leads to distraction and low self-confidence. Instead, one should focus on their strengths; this is how one is able to realize their true passion. In fact, if I had not listened to Ms. Jenny’s lecture to John, I might not have joined the military because some family members felt military was not the best option for me. By following my own will, I feel I have made one of the best decisions of my life by joining the military. I have learned several valuable skills that will help me in almost any non-military career should I decide to change careers.

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