“Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution.” – David J. Schwartz,
One of my “Extra Duty” assignments while serving as a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was speaking to 4th and 5th grade students about the dangers of drugs, gangs and crime. I always tried to inspire the kids to realize that with the right mindset and positive-attitude, they could “Grow up and be anything they want.”
One particular afternoon, I had just finished speaking at a low-income school on the outskirts of San Diego County, CA. I was wearing a black long-sleeve shirt with the words “POLICE” in bright yellow printed across the chest. A young boy walked up to me from the audience, pointed at my shirt, and said,
“When I grow up, I want to be a Police Officer, just like you.“
I was overjoyed that perhaps, my message of positiviety and personal belief had gotten through to this young boy. I bent over to give the kid a High-Five, and said,
“That’s great, you can do it!”
To my dismay, the same little boy then shook his head and replied,
“No I can’t. My daddy told me I’m going to grow up and be just like him.”
For a moment, I hoped that perhaps his dad was a scientist, or astronaut, or doctor – and that his dad was encouraging him to grow up, and be successful, just like he was.
With a bit of nervousness in my voice, I asked the young kid,
“What does your daddy do?”
With a matter-of-fact voice and facial expression, the young boy said,
“My daddy is in prison for dealing drugs, and he told me I’m going to grow up, and be just like him.”
In that single moment, time stood still for me, and I realized two very important lessons:
- As we go through the course of our day, we never realize if that one little word of encouragement we offer to a friend, loved one (or even a complete stranger) – is the first word of encouragement they’ve received in a day, a week, a month, or maybe like that young kid from the outskirts of San Diego – their entire life.
- Sometime in life, the word of encouragement we need to hear the most needs to come from within. When there is nobody to praise us, motivate us, and support us – we still have the power and strength of the great spirit within. We can believe in ourselves.
“BUIYATAOO – Believe Unconditionally In Yourself And The Ability Of Others.” – Greg Amundson