I remember as a child, when I was in first grade of primary school, I was seven years old and it was a great year in my life because it was during that year that I came to learn that the impossible can be achieved that anything can be achieved, just about anything, little by little.
I remember, in grade one of primary school, coming to the school gate on a Friday afternoon and finding my brothers standing around the gate, messing around, playing games, beating each other up a bit, waiting for my mother to come and pick us up from school. And I remember on Friday afternoons, all my brothers used to be happy and excited because the school week was over. The weekend had come, and that meant lots of sports and no homework. There was a great excitement there.
But I remember week after week, on a Friday afternoon, making my way to the school gate, very sad. And I remember one Friday afternoon, in particular, the school bell went, and everyone rushed out of class. I slowly tidied my desk, I packed my school bag, then I dragged my school bag slowly towards the school gate where I found four of my brothers happy and excited because, once again, the weekend had come around. But I remember this particular Friday afternoon, I was particularly sad. And I remember my mother coming to get us. She used to park the car down the street and walk up to the gate to gather us all together, and then walk us down to the car and throw the bags in the back of the car, and one by one, we'd get into the car. And I remember getting into the car that day and bursting into tears. My brothers, they looked at me wondering what had happened. And then my mother got into the car, and she saw me crying. And she said, "What's wrong?"
You see, in grade one of primary school, on Friday afternoons, we used to have our spelling test, and I always used to fail. They used to make me sad. But I remember my mother taking me home and holding me in her arms and saying, "Everything's going to be all right. We're going to practice your spelling, and you'll get better." And then she said to me, "How many did you get in your spelling test today?" And I said, "6 out of 20." The kids used to laugh like that. That's why I was sad. She said to me, "How many did you get in the spelling test today?" I said, "6 out of 20." She said, "That's okay. If you get 7 next week, on Friday afternoon, I will take you straight from school, and I'll buy you a big bar of chocolate." I got 7, and I got my bar of chocolate.
The next week, I got 8 and more chocolate. The week after that, 9 and more chocolate, then 10 and 12 and more chocolate and 14 and 16 and more chocolate and 18 and 19 and 20 and more chocolate until I had developed a love for chocolate. But I could spell. I could spell. And I think we all experience things like this in our lives. For me to get 20 out of 20 in spelling when I was in first grade, when I was seven years old, seemed like an impossible task. It seemed like climbing Mount Everest twice in two weeks backwards. But little by little, through the encouragement, my mother, my teachers, I was able to climb that mountain. Little by little, through their encouragement, I was able to climb that mountain. It takes perseverance. It takes perseverance.
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