Joan and I were checking out at Hannaford's the other night (a grocery store), when I saw a friend of mine - a special friend who I tutored for two years in a number of subjects. I was her second tutor and we would meet week in and week out - at first just working on reading and writing, but then expanding to social studies and math. When we got to Fractions, I had to do a little re-learning myself, before I could teach her, after all, how often do you multiply and divide fractions...in the real world (you don't!).

As time went by, progress seemed so slow, sometimes having to take major steps back when we'd hit a stumbling block - like having to learn the times tables, before realistically being able to learn how to multiply and divide fractions. I was frustrated by what this 50+ year old woman was required to learn, in order to get her GED - so much of it seemed worthless in real-life (like fractions...and silent letters in this word or that...). She worked a full time job plus two part time jobs...and still made it to our session every week...week in and week out.

I left the program when I began working full time again (when Joan and I were running out of money...and worried about paying the mortgage and buying food) and I felt bad that I was leaving this woman, after we'd built a good relationship and she'd come as far as she had...

But, I also wondered if she'd ever get what she was after. The GED requirements were soon to be made even harder, and I wasn't sure all the time and effort on her part...and mine, would ever pay off...

Anyway - that question was answered the other night, when with a big smile, she told me she had just found out the night before, that she passed her GED - she was so happy...and I was overcome with admiration for her and gave her a big hug - right there in front of all the others waiting in line to check out.

She kept working with another tutor for another two and a half years after I left her...towards a goal I wasn't sure was achievable, and I'm SOOOO very glad she proved me wrong. And so, in achieving a goal that took five long years...she became MY teacher...and I thank her for the Life lesson...

Our negative thoughts can poison what's possible in life, if you allow them to keep you company. No matter your age; no matter your background - when you don't lose sight of the goal - whatever that goal is, and take steps, each and every day - no matter how little and no matter if some steps seem backwards...all is possible. It doesn't matter what others think will hold you back...it only matters what you think, so long as you have the gumption to push forward again and again and again.

BIO - Mark Verner Frederick is a writer and photographer who often focuses upon the natural world and its calming effect upon the mind, body, and spirit. He has also spent decades in search of answers to explain why we think and do, what we think and do. He is the owner of Treehouse Studios (photography) and has had numerous articles published in the Healing Springs Journal (Saratoga Springs, NY). He is also, the owner...of a treehouse, and lives in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

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Comment by Kathy Custren on May 28, 2014 at 10:33pm

Excellent contribution, Mark. If you could, please be sure to include a "brief" bio paragraph at the end, so your article may be forwarded to the publishers. Thank you ~ Blessings!

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