Win the Inner Battle with Mawi

You have more in you than you can imagine.

A Kid Named Brian

by Mawi on June 5, 2012

His mother had died of cancer when he was twelve. His two older brothers had already left the house. When I met Brian, he was a rising high school senior, thinking about going to college, but also contemplating working as a mechanic. His ACT score was 33.

Brian lived with his father in a small town in Colorado. I was twenty-two years old – I had not written any books or started my speaking career.

Brian and I were attending a College Summit weekend, where low-income kids could work with volunteers who would help them write their college essay. I still have Brian’s college essay in a folder I call Inspiration.

Why did I keep his essay? Because Brian wrote about his challenges. About the challenges of missing his mother. And his father, who as Brian described in his essay had “gotten off the horse of life” – Brian had to help his father put his shoes on every day.

I kept Brian’s essay because Brian made a choice. Like so many kids in our country, Brian faced challenges that have no easy answers: a loved one passing away, financial hardship, the struggle to care for a father who can no longer care for himself.

And Brian chose to look those challenges in the eye and say, I will not feel sorry for myself. I will not give up. I will take life on with everything I have – even if everything I have feels inadequate in the face of challenges that have no easy answers.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Simon June 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Mawi – Would Brian be willing to let you share his essay ? I would love to have such a treasure in my “Inspiration” file as well. – With hope, Simon

2 Mawi June 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Thanks Simon – next time we connect, I’ll bring the Inspiration Folder along.

3 Deena August 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Love this Mawi!! Thanks for sharing. I was inspired by the Peer Leaders with whom I worked and look forward to volunteering again next year!

4 Mawi August 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Thanks Deena – I look forward to catching up and swapping stories at an Ethiopian restaurant sometime. Continue to lead and inspire my friend!

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