Everyone has hardships they go through in their lives. Whether it be a bad family life or struggles at work, everyone has their own burdens to carry. There are times in life where you feel you’ve hit the progressive jackpot and you are on your way up.
But then, just as suddenly, you crash. And burn. And you can find yourself in a place that you don’t know how to get out of. What can we do to help ourselves? Well, to explain that, I’d like to tell you a story of a little boy who never dreamed.
The Boy Who Never Dreamed
Once, there was a little boy, who for all intents and purposes, was named Jack. Jack lived in a small town perhaps not unlike the one you might live in. Jack wasn’t rich, but he also wasn’t poor. He lived in a small house that was just big enough to not be an apartment but small enough that it would feel like one.
Jack might have had a rather easy-going life, but that certainly wasn’t true for his parents. They were bombarded with constant bills, and they both had to work jobs they hated just to keep their heads above water. Certainly less than ideal, but also, once again, something many people could relate to.
However, the one thing that would change Jack’s story for the worse, was the fact that little Jack’s parents never wanted him. Jack didn’t know this. He was, after all, a little kid. But, he could tell that something was wrong, even if he didn’t know what.
Jack might not have been rich or poor or lived in a big or small house, but he was abused harshly by both his parents. Whenever he did something wrong, they would yell at him in a hurtful tone, and often hit him. Jack never said anything. Jack thought this was just what parents do. After all, Jack was only a little boy.
Jack’s suspicions would come to a head one day when he came home from school. Jack walked up the path to the front door, and quietly pushed it open and then closed again as he walked inside. The house, it would seem, was empty.
Jack didn’t think much of this, however, as he knew his parents often would come home later than him. So, Jack would set down his things, and go upstairs to finish his homework.
A couple hours passed, and Jack had long since finished his homework. This was when he got a creeping feeling something was wrong. It was already rather late, and his parents had yet to come home. Although he thought it was strange, as it was getting rather late, he just figured they had a long day at work. Jack went back to watching cartoons.
As bedtime came and went, Jack became very worried. Usually, his parents would both be home in time for dinner at the latest. After Jack got into his pajamas and brushed his teeth, he decided to give them a call. The line rang and rang and rang, but nobody picked up. Jack decided his parents would come eventually, and went to bed.
The next day, Jack would wake up to the sound of his usual alarm. Groggily, Jack slid out of bed. He knew his parents would come and yell at him if he didn’t get up. So, Jack slid onto the floor and made his way downstairs for breakfast.
However, when Jack arrived at the bottom of the steps, there was no breakfast. No cereal boxes on the table. No glass of orange juice for him. And certainly no Mom and Dad. Jack was all alone.
Feeling quite afraid, Jack walked over to the land-line on the wall and picked it up. Jack tried calling his parents again, but neither picked up. So, after a moment’s hesitation, Jack phoned the only other number he knew. Nine One One.
The line rang for a few moments, and then a woman’s voice came on the line. She asked where Jack lived, and what was wrong. Jack answered that he lived at his house and he gave her the street and address. He then told her that his parents didn’t come home.
After a brief wait, where the operator told Jack not to be afraid and that help was on the way, he heard a knock at the front door. Jack peeked through the blinds beside the window and saw a uniformed police officer standing outside the door. So, Jack undid the deadbolt and opened it.
After a long time, where Jack had to try his best to tell the police officers what happened, they told him to come with them, and they brought him down to the police station. After a long while where he was talked to by social workers, he would eventually be sent to foster care. Jack would cry himself to sleep that night, and many nights to follow. He had been abandoned.
This would send little Jack’s life into a downward spiral. He would never really feel at home in foster care. The boys would pick on him, and Jack would just take it. By this point, he was used to it.
There were also the therapists. Therapist after therapist and social-worker after social-worker would try and talk to him. They would always ask him the same things. And Jack would always give the same answers.
One day, Jack would find himself in the office of yet another therapist. This wouldn’t be the first time, and Jack was preparing his usual speeches he’d give whenever they asked him about his feelings or about his parents.
Eventually, his name was called and he was brought into the office of the therapist who was a young man named Zev. As Jack sat down, he began his little speech as usual. He told his name and what happened to him and what he’d done with his time, and how he felt.
To Jack’s surprise, Zev just listened at first. Once Jack paused as he neared the end of his usual ramble, Zev just said, “But, what do you want?” Zev then told him to imagine where he would be in 10 years.
Such a simple question had made Jack silent. He realized he’d never thought about it. His life had become day by day. He’d been so beaten down that he rarely ever thought of anything but getting by.
So then, after a few moments of hesitation, Jack began to speak. He told Zev about how he wanted to be a teacher. He wanted to do something that would help people. And, as Jack described his own future, he realized he began to feel something he never had before. He felt hope.
And so, Zev gave Jack something he never had before. Jack was given sight. He had a chance to look not at the now, but in the future. Jack realized, for the first time in his life, that he might be able to be somebody. Maybe he could finally have the life he thought he’d lost.
What Jack Teaches us About Our Lives
Many of us don’t know where to go in life. Perhaps we have had our own troubles and traumas that make us feel we can’t continue. Or perhaps, we just simply are scared and feel hopeless.
However, it doesn’t have to be so! Motivation alone does not equal success and a tough situation and hopelessness equal failure. However, a tough situation alone does not have to equal failure.
So, how do we turn these negatives into positives? The trick is planning. We must find something that motivates us. That is the first step. Then, we can plan. Once you are motivated and you have an idea of how to get where you want to go, you can do anything.