Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What Happens When You're Too Stubborn to Fail

One of my favorite quotes is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He said, “Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.”
When I was teaching German, I used foreign travel to encourage students to stay with the program long enough gain acceptance to college and earn scholarships. I didn’t teach in a wealthy area. Most families didn’t have the money for the three week trips, but we sold thousands of candy bars and washed hundreds of cars. This helped, but families still needed to pay some of the costs.

Andrea signed up to go. Other students reminded her that her family didn’t have the money to pay. Her response was classic. “I don’t know how I’m going; I just know that I am.” She continued to attend all the meetings, helped sell chocolate and washed cars. She inspired other students with her grit and positive attitude.

One afternoon, the trip kids came to see to me. They had come without Andrea. “Our families have enough money to pay for us; can we use the last fundraiser to help Andrea instead of all of us?” How could I say no? After the last fundraiser, we were still short. I sent a note to each of her teachers, past and present, asking for help. She was an angel, and they all chipped in, hoping she could go.

While teaching class, one of our school counselors entered my classroom and walked up close to speak to me in private. “How much do you need to cover the rest of Andrea’s trip?” I whispered $150. Then he turned and left my room. A few minutes later, he returned, handed me an envelope and left the room without a word. The envelope contained a personal check for the full amount. He wasn’t even her counselor.

As the day to leave approached, I overheard a student ask Andrea how she was going to pay for her meals while abroad. She told him the trip included two meals a day. “I may be hungry, but I won’t starve.” When she arrived in Austria, the staff at the University of Salzburg where students were studying realized she had no spending money, and gave her a scholarship to cover meals and a few souvenirs. She was committed, and providence moved. Learn from Andrea; apply for enough college scholarships that providence will help you too.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

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