The day began as any other; we had our morning school assembly, proceeding to our class rooms in an orderly fashion and sat down at our designated desks.
Little did I know; this was the day I’d rewrite my perceived destiny by the school.
I was wearing a Grey V-Neck Jumper instead of the Round Neck Grey Jumper’s which were an essential part of our school uniform. And as such, if one deviated from wearing a Round-Neck Jumper; we were considered scum of the earth and had to be punished for it by being suspended from school.
I got called out instantaneously and sent to the school principal’s office.
He pulled out my file; looked at me with his eyes filled with pity and disdain. And proclaimed, “You know what this means? You’ll never amount to anything because you fail to obey the rules.”
I told him this would be a good time to call my parents and let them know how much of a menace I am.
And so he did.
Turned out my father was in the middle of a very important meeting and couldn’t answer the phone. When his secretary was informed the call was regarding his son; he stormed out of the meeting to answer to the phone, only to be informed that his son — once again had landed himself in trouble.
The conversation happened within a matter of minutes; the principal regurgitated what he’d just told me — “Your son won’t amount to anything. Are you sure if he’s even your son?”
I’ve been told by his colleagues that my father had never been so angry in his life.
He got to the school within a matter of minutes; storming into the principals office and told him.
“Listen up, First of all I’m here to let you know HE IS MY SON. Secondly, I’m very proud that he wore this jumper to school. Because it goes on to show how much you care about his education. From now on my son will not be attending your school. Thank you for your time”, and took me back with him to his office.
The school mailed a letter to the house a few days later informing my parents how I’d missed school recently. We never responded to the letters.
Instead, my father decided it was time to try a different strategy; he thought it best that I take up home school.
Surprisingly; this event changed my life.
Who knew; a V-Neck Grey Jumper could re-write my preconceived destiny.
I took up Cambridge International Examinations; O and A Levels. Passed with flying colours and went abroad for further education.
The Principal was suspended for inappropriate conduct whilst I was abroad. I only found out about when I returned home and decided to reminisce the place where my destiny was decided by a human being who knew nothing about me.
It changed the way I thought, perceived, and evaluated situations.
It wasn’t the grey v-neck sweater that got me in trouble; it was the fact that I thought differently and had broken a rule.
And continuing to do so meant trouble for the school; because it besmirched their non-existent sense of purpose.
I went onto to have a successful career and share this story multiple times to anybody who acted differently during my career as an Academic.
My students thought I was a lunatic; and they weren’t afraid to let me know that. I loved them for it.
It takes genuine human emotion to absorb ones ego and focus on what’s most important.
I taught my students in an unconventional way and they often laughed at me for it. Some of them compared me to Robin Williams and shouted out ‘Oh Capt’n my Capt’n’, every chance they got.
I never let my ego or anger get in the way of discouraging my students from wanting to learn or their thirst for knowledge. It made me feel whole. And I wish every kid had a dad like mine to let a Principal know it wasn’t his place to be an Ancestry Professional.
My dad still laughs to this day about the event and how it changed the course of my life.
And I wish that most students have the opportunity of freedom and enough courage to know that a school does not decide your destiny; you do. So if going against the system is in your nature; embrace it and tell the world they can go to hell. Cause we’ll keep doing things the way we want if it makes us happy. And sure enough; with happiness, shortly thereafter will be success.
I would like to thank the principal for his fashion choice; V-Neck Jumpers were a little out of fashion for that period in time.
But sure as shit; V-Neck Jumpers didn’t make or break my destiny.