Almost all people on earth have a potential for greatness. It’s something that is written into our DNA at birth, the possibility is there for us to go very far in life; it is up to us to strive for that greatness though. My father is one of those kinds of people that has not let anything stand in the way of him achieving his goals. He was born the oldest child to a dirt -poor family in Long Island, New York. The son of a horse racer he moved around for a while before settling down in the town of Bensalem, Pennsylvania. He spent his early years either at school or at home helping with the family, and if he wasn’t at either of those places he was at the track cleaning up after the horses to help his own father and to earn a bit of money for himself. He was always dissatisfied with small town life, and upon the completion of high school he went to for a glass factory as a way to support himself until he could find a direction in life. One day he decided that he was fed up with wiping bits of glass from his hair every night and enlisted into the navy. By this time he was engaged to my mother and it didn’t go down so well but they made peace and he left home for five years. To say that he experienced a lot in the navy would be an understatement. In the time that he spent in the navy, he spent his twenty-first birthday skiing with the French foreign legion; he had taken tours of through Baghdad and Afghanistan, and swam through shark- infested waters. A few years after he came home my mother gave birth to my older brother so my father needed to find a job. The job he landed in was mail processing in the worst mailroom in Philadelphia. He would spend what he himself calls seventeen of the worst years of his life. Almost every day of the week he would leave very early in the morning and arrive very late at night. My brother and I became very self sufficient because my father always works very late, and my mother would always work eleven hour shifts, so there wasn’t always a parent around to take care of us. Everyone in his life could tell that he was miserable, so he decided that it was time to make a change. So he left the post office and decided to earn a teaching degree. It’s been a few years since he earned his degree and he’s still happily married with two sons, has a job that he loves, and it still going to school to increase his potential even more. The only thing left to say is that the road is open to those who are willing to walk it.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.