October 23, 2012

I was good at something! I was winning! I was passionate!

My mom had seen the competitive drive in me during middle school and signed me up for swimming club. It changed the dangerous course my life had been taking.

With a lack of money, food and everyday essentials of living, my life was not good at that time. Our financial struggles were on a downward spiral. My single mom worked long hours at the hospital and most of the time she was on call and gone during the night. My sister and I would be responsible for getting up on time, getting dressed and walking on our own to school.

I know that this eventually took its toll on me in middle school. Without any supervision, I started to make very bad choices, already smoking and experimenting with drugs. I found myself falling behind in school and eventually ended up in almost all remedial classes.

Around this time my mom made the desperate sacrifice to register me in the swimming club. I discovered I was a natural athlete. I began competing and winning medals. I found my love for competition. I learned I had come from a long line of athletes through my dad’s side of the family. I began to find purpose and an escape from smoking and doing drugs.

It was a critical moment on my life path ­– and I am SO thankful for my mom’s decision!

I went on to play golf, basketball and a few other sports throughout junior high and high school. I loved the rush of competition and hated to lose at anything. This activity gave me direction and discipline. Most importantly, it kept me from the drug crowd and the self-destructive behaviors I had engaged in.

I encourage you to find a positive activity to engage your children. Keep trying until something catches their passion! It’s worth the time and effort – and in some cases – it’s critical to their positive future!

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