There are two things in this world that can determine your path in life:
- Your peers (the circle you are in)
My original wording was that there are two things that can shut doors and ruin your life, where it would take an extraordinary effort to get it back on track.
- Not getting an education
- Dealing with the wrong people
Since the original wording wasn’t as optimistic, I decided to lighten it up for this post (but believe me, my kids may get it either way). The reason that I chose the two is because both can open doors and provide opportunities but only one can ruin everything that you’ve ever worked for. The second trumps the first because education opens doors and dealing with the wrong people can shut them. It is imperative that young adults know this. I have watched some of my middle school students on the right path academically, let their surroundings and friends get in the way of everything that they’ve worked hard for. I have seen the brightest end up on house arrest, pregnant, addicted to drugs, etc. When I mention this, I always receive the snide remark “well I guess they weren’t that bright.” This is absurd. They are still children, learning how to navigate this world and some are doing without parents but guardians and grandparents trying to fill the role. To this remark, I reply “well, I guess all of the stupid mistakes that you’ve made in life, make you dumb as a doorknob.”
When these students return to me broken and embittered, I tell them these two things. I have them go over their particular situation and those of others that they know have gone down the wrong path. I ask them what do they see? Is there a common denominator? We explore their emotions and accept that its alright to feel this way but we must move on. They search me for answers when the answers are inside of them but they are too young to know that now. It is our job as adults to provide wisdom and not just be “the cool parent” or “the cool adult”. This generation is looking for guidance and formula that they can follow when there really isn’t one. So, I give them what I know to be true. Learn, whether it be the traditional way or an untraditional way. But, learn, read, explore. And if you are going to do these things to better yourself and open doors, then do not slaughter your dreams by dealing with the wrong people. We all make decisions in life and the old adage still holds true: Birds of a feather flock together.
Sometimes we think that staying “down” with others will inspire them and lift them up but, it does the reverse. What inspires greatness is walking in your own light and excellence and when those who want the same for themselves are ready to obtain it, they will come and follow you!