“Never let them make you crawl.” – John Dillinger
When I was in my early teens, life was not what I thought it should be. I expect that for many teens this is probably the case; of course I am now 36 years old and have grown up a little. We were living in Maryland on Fort Meade, yes my dad was Army and he was somewhere near 10 years of service. He had just won a court case that allowed him to stay in the Army even though he had Adult on-set Diabetes or Type II Diabetes. I attended all of 7th Grade at MacArthur Middle School and most of 8th Grade. The school was close enough to walk to and that was kinda nice.
When my family first moved to Maryland we lived with friends that my dad had made while working and waiting for the final outcome of his hearings or trial ( I am not sure really what it was). This good family let us move into their home and we lived there for most of the summer … I think. It may have been much less … the amount of time really doesn’t matter much. At this time our family was going through a major test and the outcome was uncertain.
My mother, Mary, and Paul, the friend we had lived with, noticed that I was walking around with my chin down, literally on my chest. Mary approached me with love and concern while Paul decided that I needed to pick my head up and face my challenges and fears. I don’t know if Paul ever knew how much his belief that a person should hold their head high … and his method of motivation really forced me to physically change my behavior. It also help me change my attitude; however, it was not an overnight change.
Sometime after this I found a quote from John Dillinger… it could have come out of the Real Crime books that I started ready at this time in my life. I just don’t remember where I found it. I know that these words coming from a man like him could mean anything. I first took them to mean, fight anyone who would try to make me do something I didn’t want to do. This ended up helping me gain greater belief in myself and caused me to start believing in myself and my abilities. I know you are thinking what skills and abilities does a 12 year old have? That is a good question, next time you are in the presence of one, why don’t you ask them.
Over the many years since then, I have seen the meaning of John’s quote changed to be less outward and more about changing myself to be the man I wanted to become. I still have this quote framed and in my medicine cabinet so that I can see it every morning.