By KAJ Jacobs.
Throughout my life, my parents have been there to support me no matter what I chose to do. From playing soccer, learning martial arts, becoming an eagle scout, and now earning an associate’s degree in high school, my parents have been there. They were the ones who encouraged me to chase my dreams and goals.
As a little kid, soccer was a sport I wanted to do because I had friends doing it. However, I found out after joining the team that I was not as prepared as my friends. My parents both encouraged me, but my dad’s simple advice was “work harder.” So, I did. I kept going to practice, running down the field, and learning how to pass or score. Eventually, through working and learning from mistakes, I became a valued member of the team. All this came because I worked a little bit harder.
After a couple of years in soccer, I began my journey into the Boy Scouts of America as a cub scout. Meetings were every Wednesday and were always full of new experiences with my friends. Eventually, I became a Weblos scout which meant that I was one step away from becoming a real boy scout and earning merit badges; however, at that time, it meant earning pins. These Weblos pins were designed to be like mini merit badges with fewer requirements, broader topics, and were easily entertaining. My den’s goal was to earn all 20 before we advanced to boy scouts. In the midst of this challenge, my dad’s tip was once again “work harder.” With the guidance of Mrs. Sherman, our den leader, and my dad’s words, my friends and I all earned these before we turned eleven and were finally allowed to join BSA.
Later, as I was moving up in the scouting ranks, I completed countless merit badges, service hours and additional requirements, but none prepared me for the frustration of obtaining my eagle scout. Although I knew what to expect, I still felt inadequate for the journey ahead. My dad told me to “work hard” although it didn’t make sense to me. I was stressed and couldn’t seem to find an eagle project, and “work hard” wasn’t going to change anything, or so I thought. With more encouragement from my parents, I continued finding a project through more effort. My end project was a huge success due to finally working my hardest the whole way through.
Later, attending Heritage, I learned about Mr. Duke’s Kenpo class. I had always wanted to do martial arts because it was cool, done in action movies, and I knew people taking the class. As a seventh grader, I started out in Mrs. Duke’s Kenpo 1 class where I quickly learned it wasn’t going to be easy. Kenpo takes dedication, time, and, you guessed it, hard work. My dad’s advice after hearing how I was starting to dislike it after the first semester was “work hard.” With some time and effort, I developed the right muscles, skills, and knowledge to participate with some ease. However, this journey isn’t over because I still am training and learning more than five years later.
Finally, I have realized what my dad was trying to get me to learn: work hard. Without this advice, I couldn’t have learned to play soccer, earn the all 20-pin award, earn my eagle, or even learn Kenpo. My dad’s greatest lesson, though the hardest to learn, was to work hard. Now, I am working hard for a college degree and am planning on working harder in order to complete my goals no matter what. In the end, I know that if a goal seems too high or difficult to achieve, we just need to put more into it and work harder, like my dad always said.