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Faith to get through high school

by MARK HUMPHREY  
9/04/2014 / Teen Issues


Although we were around our high school classmates five days a week, nine months out of the year and we were acquainted with one another, there were things never surfacing.

We each faced our own personal challenges and many fought inner battles. Some struggled mightily to achieve our collective goal of graduating as a class together. Some didn't satisfy the academic requirements while others returned next year and graduated with next year's class or obtained a G.E.D. That doesn't make anyone better than another, we just took different paths.

Teenagers often feel extreme pressures and many times they don't or feel like they can't tell anybody. I was a preacher's kid and that brought an enormous weight of its own and exposed me to a stream of taunts especially during eighth grade.

Prior to the start of our freshman year, I made a decision. I was tired of the goody two-shoes charade. Tired of trying to live up to impossible standards and ready to break free of the social handicaps imposed on a teenage boy by legalism.

My uncle, who was a preacher's kid a generation before me, told me in April of 2014, that as a preacher's kid, "You got to do twice as much just to prove yourself [as an equal to your peers]."

The change started in eighth grade when I went out for football and basketball, athletic activities considered sinful in some circles. I wanted to go out for football in seventh grade but was fearful of breaking the mold I was constantly being pressured to conform to.

Now, when my wife hears of me getting a thrill from slam-dunking the basketball in City League or Recreation League games and blocking shots or dishing out assists playing the game as one of my favorite things to do for years beyond high school, she simply says, "It was the only way you could express yourself."

The desire to achieve freedom to enjoy life caused me to temporarily discard academic achievement which would have benefitted me. My concentration became more on having a good time while going to school than anything else; and, although I let my grades slide from not caring the first 2.5 years of high school, I did succeed at having a good time while wandering without any career direction.

Yet, God was faithful and with me in my wilderness. There was a determination to have fun in life propelling me to achieve goals. I worked full-time between my ninth and tenth grade years earning enough money to buy my first car driving it on the first day of school as a sophomore drawing inspiration from my older sister, who used to take me cruising with her in our parents' 1972 Ford LTD on Friday nights when she was a junior and I was a freshman in the fall of 1979.

We listened to KOMA, Oklahoma City, a clear channel station at 1520 AM on the dial because FM radio had not grown popular yet and KOMA was the only Rock n' Roll station we could pick up after dark. My sister introduced me to this world that I wanted so much to be a part of - cruising and listening to music enjoying the teenage social scene.

Buying my own car empowered me to experience a lot of memories I have of being with friends and the blatant things we said to each other and the pranks we played during high school. Getting a driver's license and having my own car gave me a great freedom I yearned for. Graduating and turning 18 and becoming responsible for my own decision-making was icing on the cake.

One of the things I really wanted was to get a nice car. My classmate Roger Dorn, who was a mechanic and always working on and talking about cars, was a big influence in this regard. Roger had a cool Ford Mustang. I wanted a Camaro and I purchased a 1977 model which was only six years old in December after graduating in May. By the end of January, 1984, I was driving to Denver, Colorado, 500 miles away to watch Julius "Dr. J" Erving, one of my basketball heroes, play in the NBA All-Star game.

Two ladies from Denver I sat by during the game were shocked that someone so young would drive all the way from Montana over potentially-snow-packed and icy roads by themself to see the game, but it was something I wanted to do and I did it.

I had learned growing up in poverty not to expect somebody else to do things for me. There were things I knew I wanted to happen in my life and I was going to have to work to accomplish each objective.

My classmates didn't know that on three separate occasions I was ready to quit during my four years at Hardin High School, but every time I went home mad I always thought things through and came back the next day.

And that's what it takes to succeed - to keep on keeping on. People can be a blessing when they step in and help but ultimately you are the one, who has to decide you're going to do what it takes to make life happen in the way you want to experience it.

Job 22:28 (Amplified Bible) states: You shall decide and decree a thing and it shall be established for you and the light of God's favor shall shine upon your way. Of course, if what you're planning to do is sin, then you need to read the rest of the book.

Each has overcome our own personal adversity and I challenge my classmates and other Christian writers to share your stories. FaithWriters.com has an online raffle going with the winner receiving a publishing package from Xulon to publish any type of Christian book the winning writer desires. Visit their website to enter.

FaithWriters also has some great resources for Christian writers. The contest link is http://faithwriters.com/win_a_publishing_package.php

Copyright 2014 by Mark W. Humphrey. A member of the Cherokee Nation raised among the Crow, Mark Humphrey is a Transparent Warrior as a Poet-Journalist, inspiring readers to look beyond the messenger and see the big picture. Mark's high school memories can be viewed at: hardinbulldogs1983.weebly.com

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