Life at school in the North East in the 1980’s was a series of apocryphal motivational speeches. Designed to motivate and inspire no doubt, and similar in tone to those recently witnessed on recent ‘Educating…’ series.
There have been many citations on the dire future of the millenials. But looking back, in an area decimated by the miners strike, employment opportunities were low, interest rates were climbing to eye watering figures. In an area already renowned for being ‘Grim’, the future looked very Grim indeed.
Still, we were lucky enough to have teachers who cared to try and those stories made their mark, with some of us at least.
One that has been coming back to mind recently was a story told in assembly somewhere between 1987 and 1989. The details are hazy, unclear in that I cannot remember the teacher who told it and exactly what year of school I was in at the time. Although I’m fairly certain it was the Headmaster, whose name has also escaped me for the moment.
I remember him being tall and strict. I also remember him being big, a bodybuilder. Buzz Lightyear jaw and trianglular profile. He made all the Dads uncomfortable and the Mums swoon. And his proteges? Yes, we listened, wide eyed and open mouthed to every word. He commanded respect certainly. In himself and each other and most importantly ourselves.
Unsurprisingly, he was keen on physical fitness, and the story to which I refer was the man who became a runner. It started traditionally as an inclination that was made reality by a number of small steps. Our would be hero started by running for 100 metres. The next day he added a lamppost. The day after extended it to the gate post until his route was marked by street furniture and gradual increments. This continued until he achieved his goal as you would expect he did. Otherwise, what was the point of the telling?
Being a child born on a Thursday this story originally scared me. Thursday’s Child has far to go, how far would I need to go to achieve my goal? But, of course this story was really nothing to do with running. And the message is one I’ve carried with me for many years. In that, you can achieve ANYTHING in the world you want to, on the condition that you want it enough. As long as you keep chipping away and don’t run out of street furniture!
And lately, the only thing I actually need in my life is to get back to running. So I’ve been taking it gently. Started with 15 second bursts until I am back to covering three miles. It’s not fast, and certainly not perfect. There is a lot of enforced walking and the frustration that comes attached to that. But I’m so happy to be moving again and making progress. Six minutes of improvement over the last month or so. With that comes motivation to continue and that is the best resolution I’ve had for many a year.