I believe that there is not such a thing as failing if you put out the effort to succeed. If you fail a grade and have to repeat it, you did not fail; you just have been given a second chance at doing the best that you can in that grade. This belief of mine started when I was given the opportunity to do the best I could one more time in the eighth grade. To most people, I failed. To me, I was given a second chance. It is this belief that has helped me through my second year.
It was very hard for me to adjust to a new group of kids as my classmates. For starters, the group of classmates I had had last year where all friends who cared about each other. This year, I get the feeling that it is a “free-for-all” and if you do not find a group of friends fast, you are going to be all alone when it gets rough. If there was a disagreement last year, we all worked it out together, the “cool” kids with the “nerds”. There was still strife, but getting along made it less like eating a bad apple. Now, I would be surprised to see the “cool” kids get involved at all if a “nerd” got in a fight with another “nerd”. But, o well. Control what you can, when you can. Another thing that has tested my belief is my own friends from last year.
Every time I see my last year friends, the first words out of their mouth after the greeting are, “So, Tommy. How is eighth grade, again?” I want to scream when they say this to me. Each and every time, it is like an arrow to my heart. If this has not tested my belief, I do not know what has. There have been some nice people from last year and I am so happy there have been. If there had not been, I would have died by now. I am in the algebra class with some of the fresh-men, and they are used to having me in class with them so they do not think of it as a big deal any more. This is so nice I can hardly believe it. It is not as if I have changed that much; the only difference is that now I do not see all of them every day. If all of them acted like that, I would go completely out of my mind. It would not be pretty, at all. Of course, there have been things that just strengthen my belief, one of which is my faith.
God is a huge part of my life. He wants me to do something, and I guess part of his plan was me going through eighth grade twice. If he thinks I should, than I should. I just need to trust in his plan. He knows better than I do, that is why he’s God and not human like you and me. Sometimes, I just wish I knew what this plan was and how to follow through with it successfully. That would make things a whole lot easier, I think. Of course, this is not possible though. If it were, the reward would not be as great as it is now. My belief that you never really fail has helped me though all the tough times in my life that totals fifteen years, and is the only reason I am alive today.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.