As a young man, I have grown, matured, and developed over the years. My father played a significant role in all of this. It is through him that I have learned the importance of family, the importance of self-care, how to handle situations wisely, how to be my own person, and how to appreciate what I have. As I have grown older, I have become more appreciative of my father. As a father, he always tells me to appreciate him because there are many “sons” out there in the world who do not have a father to teach them lessons.
While a grade school student, I followed the wrong person because of my immaturity. Even though I maintained a good GPA, it wasn’t my best. I had a friend in fourth grade, we were close, but it started to become a problem. In addition to being disrespectful and immature, this “Friend” did not maintain good grades. I never was bold enough to tell him about himself, I just always let him continue to be disrespectful and get me into trouble. I wished I had said something earlier because I seemed to modify his behavior and It wasn’t good for me at all. My actual best friend started to also follow me and they did this because they saw me doing it.
Suddenly, I began earning a’s, b’s, and c’s instead of a’s and b’s. It got worse because he started to introduce me to people I never knew but I caught on where he learned to have so much immaturity. These It was always awful situations and people used inappropriate language. I thought it was cool to hang around kids like that when I was “young and dumb” because more people at school noticed me. Having my grades drop also led my teachers to see a significant change in my personality. In denial about all three of the comments I received from my teachers, I would receive long ligatures asking, “What is happening at home?”,” your grades have been slipping drastically,” and my least favorite, “You’re changing.” I was always receiving long ligatures from my teachers asking, “What is going on at home,” “What is happening at school,” and “What is going on at school.”
The moment my mother and father became disappointed in my performance in school, I realized I needed to get my act together. I started to realize I was a follower that whole time. I would question myself would “ My friend” still be friends with me if I stop hanging out with him so much, would the popularity leave upon me, and would my image at this school go back to the smart guy in 4th grade. I didn’t want to lose all of this but I knew it wasn’t me and It was the right thing to move away from all of the negative activity.
As a result of all the second-guessing that came along with it, becoming my old self wasn’t so easy for me. Ultimately, I realized I needed to be a leader rather than a follower. As a result of my improvement in my grades, my teachers always advised me to “move people from your circle.” I was surprised to notice that people enjoyed my company because I wasn’t impersonating anything I wasn’t. In the aftermath of my return to my old self, “the friend” began to follow me. I was his go-to person for help with his work, for improving his vocabulary, and for speaking about anything. Having the freedom to be myself felt great.
My younger self must know that being yourself is important because no one else would be you if you weren’t yourself. Additionally, you can always benefit from your relationships because there is always something you can learn from them.
Tyler Long – Deerfield Academy – DMSF Class of 2026
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