I have a story for you today. I mean I guess in theory, I always have a story for you, but today is different. Today is a story that goes back to my childhood, more specifically, my middle school days.
There was this thing in middle school called the 24 hour run. The whole idea was that you were a part of a relay team and each person would take turns running (or walking if you had to) 1 mile for the total of 24 hours, so over the course of this time you were running a lot of miles. (And if I remember correctly, teams raised money for a charity?) Anyway, the 24 hour run was headed by one of our PE teachers, Mr. Kaiser, and anyone could sign up. Kind of.
This is where this story gets interesting…
I remembered watching people and friends running one year (6th grade?) and then I believe it was either 7th or 8th grade when my friend Shaina and I decided that we wanted to do it. Neither of us were runners but they said there was training and we were up for the challenge. (Keep in mind this was before I knew I had asthma or was really that active).
After the first training / test run, Mr. Kaiser advised Shaina and I to back out. He thought we were too slow and didn’t think we could survive the 24 hours, even with training. Now I don’t believe those were his exact words but to this day, that is the memory of his message that has stayed imprinted in my mind.
Sadly, this wouldn’t be the only time a teacher told me I couldn’t do something and wasn’t good enough, but those are stories for another day.
Clearly this memory has stuck with me for the last 15 or so years. We could go into a debate about empowering vs. discouraging people, or we can take a moment to realize how far I’ve come since then. I’m choosing the later.
-Maybe I can’t run in a 24 hour relay, but I’m training for a 10k and have consistently been running 3-4 miles at a time.
-I’ve been diagnosed with asthma, put on regulation medication and been working to build up the strength of my lungs – by running!
-Despite increasing my mileage, I’ve decreased my mileage time – sub 10 minute mile, I’ll take it!
-I’ve become so passionate about my running (and fitness routine in general), that I share my weekly workouts and have inspired others to start running (or at least I got my sister to start running).
So Mr. Kaiser, I understand you’ve been named Teacher of the ____ (month, year, etc) several times now but let me teach you something through my story – do not underestimate what I (or any child for that matter) can do! I may not be the fastest, most in-shape, or strongest runner, but I deserve just as much of a shot as the next kid; I just may surprise you.
Tell me a story! A story of an accomplishment; a story of someone not giving you enough credit; doesn’t matter, just tell me a story!