This I Believe

Ryan - Wheaton, Illinois
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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This I Believe

People always say what a well behaved kid I am, but I would like to tell them it’s because of all of the early mistakes I have made. I was a very mischievous kid growing up; I would break things around the house, start fights and talk back to my parents. Now, I am very happy that I had made those mistakes. It’s because of them, that I am a well behaved man now. But like everyone I am still learning of new and different ways to “mess up.” I believe in a learning technique called “trial by fire.”

Avoiding mistakes in life is almost impossible. And these trials are so important in the learning process. There are two types of knowledge in the world; the book smarts that you learn in school, and the street smarts that you learn through experience. They are equally as important in life. Every day I sit in school expanding my horizons in the book smart area, but when do I really learn the street smarts in school? Well, that is what the time out of school is for. I know that the only way I will learn true discipline and responsibility, is to take it outside of school.

In my junior year of high school I would always get into conflicts with my parents over my curfew. I learned very quickly the right time to come home every night. After having nights when I am sneaking in at 1:30 am, I lost my privilege to drive, and my curfew was moved from 12 to 10:30. I knew that I would be just a matter of time till I was caught, but by being caught I knew that I wasn’t going to do it again.

I am willing to take these risks and “mess up” in order to better myself. It’s a weird thing to say, but when do we really learn not to do something? It’s through our faults. And the majority of the time these things can be avoided by not taking a chance. It’s when we do decide to take a chance and add some risk to our lives that is when we learn something new. After I would do something I would always ask myself “Was it worth it?” Almost always the answer is “yes.” If I get into some trouble for a thoughtless and reckless crusade, I win in two ways: I had the enjoyment of goofing around, and I have the privilege of learning from my mistakes. I learn so much this way. Every day we are all faced with these trials and we have the opportunity to try something new. If they do not work out we will learn for next time not to make the same mistake. If they do end up working out, we now have another way of conducting business in our lives.