By age 3 I could read (by listening) and by 4 I was ready to help my older siblings with homework (because I loved to help others). My parents told me that even before I even knew how to read words, before I even went to kindergarten, I would listen to the news on the radio every day and afterward I would take a piece of paper and pretend to read the news, repeating almost word for word exactly what the newscaster had read. I did not stop there. By age 4 I would summon my older siblings to the study table and tell them to bring out their homework so that I could help them. Although all this made my parents and siblings laugh, because I was so young, my parents told me that at that point they knew that I was on to something, that I had dreams, maybe not to be a newscaster or media personality 🙂 but there was something about me that made them believe that helping and giving were in my future. And they were right.
My parents enrolled me in a Christian school when I went to the third grade. I remembered being very excited. This was our church school and I could not wait to sit in the same class with other kids with whom I attended Sunday School. I remember wanting to join of all extracurricular activities the school had to offer – the dance troop, the kickball team, the chorus group, the drama club and just about any activities that the school offered to its students. In my mind as a child, this was the beginning of living my dreams and being a part of something important and special. I was ready to shine. Although very bashful, I always did my best to stay a part of what I believed was right for me.
At a very young age I took on projects that most kids my age did not find exciting at the time. One of my fondest memories of a project that I undertook as a child (in middle school – 7th grade) was to start a free after-school study class at home for kids in the neighborhood to help with homework and teach them how to read. Most of those kids were my age but in a lower grade than I was. I felt great excitement just being able to help them read and provide a space for them to learn. Giving back and helping others is something that I have continue to do up to today. It’s a natural part of life.
As I got older I learned that everything in life will not always turn out how I wanted them to be. I learned that mistakes happen along the way and I learned to accept my mistakes, correct them and move on knowing that I can do better. I learned quickly get over feeling sorry for myself and look forward to the next thing that lay ahead. Although I am an optimist I am also aware that things may not always go my way and that is okay. That I have to be prepared to accept and live with the things that I cannot change, with which I have to coexist, that are a necessary part of my environment and over which I have no control, while making the best of the situation. These are all part of growing up and learning but most important I had to keep my dream alive.
You may wonder why I am telling you a mini story of my life. I believe that our dreams are formed as children. Those things that we are attracted to as children, whether we become aware of them or not, tend to follow us through out our lives. Some of us realize our dreams at an early age and with the appropriate help from parents or guardians begin to develop them along the way until we take full charge as adults. Others connect with their dreams at a later time in life while for some the dream is lost at some point between childhood and adulthood and never materializes.
Although at a very young age I could not understand my actions and everyone thought it was funny, my parents understood. They were supportive and guided me toward realizing my dreams. They were my mentors. They give me a foundation by believing in me, the person they saw in me as a child, motivating me and providing me with the tools to help me get to where I wanted to be.
I believe that to identify who we truly are meant to be we have to go back to the time our childhood. To relive those little dreams and skills that we or others thought were just “child stuff”. Those might be things that were probably overlooked as a child.
It took me a while to understand my true purpose, my calling. I had to go back and reconnect with my childhood and remember stories told to me by my parents. I began to make connections between the little things that I remembered and the things that appear to matter to me most today. It helped me realize that my purpose is it help others reach their own goals. That is what brings me the most happiness.