When I was five-and-a-half years old, we moved from Southern California to Montana where I started the first grade. I’d made friends in kindergarten, but in Montana I now had to make new ones, and it wasn’t easy. But I did well there. I even became a minor hero in my class, gaining respect among the kids.
Just about the time it looked like my star was about to ascend in Montana, my family moved again, this time to Oakland, California, and once more I had to start over. I remember well my first day in second grade at the new school, where I was viewed by the kids with suspicion and reserve.
By the time I reached fifth grade, however, I was on the brink of becoming captain of the traffic patrol. (In those days, we kids held up signs for the cars to stop. Today, adults do that.) It was quite an honor; we had snappy little hats and got medals for every six months that we served. I was all set to become the top-status captain … and then we moved! In my new school, as a sixth grader, I was again on the traffic patrol, but no longer in the running to become captain.
Everybody can relate to the ups and downs of childhood. As adults, many of us have also been impacted by shifting circumstances, relationships or employment. Everyone can look back on disappointing, even heartbreaking, things we’ve faced and think that life didn’t seem to work out the way we expected it would (or should). For some people, those experiences set boundaries on their hope.
Hamstrung by the past, they fear being let down in the future and shrink back whenever there’s a prospect or possibility of moving forward. Sadly, there are people who never see the sunlight of tomorrow because they live in the shadow of yesterday.