As our Marrzipan legend, Zac Haldane, gets ready to depart on his next journey to Canada, he takes time to reflect and share with us a bit about his travels in finding his purpose.
I remember all the embarrassing moments, the 'bad' bits, the telling offs, the humiliation and the bullying. Not always from peers, but occasionally from teachers too. No this is not a slight on teachers. I was no Johnny Be-Good. In fact, I was a right "pain in the bottom", as my grandma would say.
It was these negative experiences that I reckon, spurred me on to becoming a Grade-A class-clown. A common perpetrator in the modern day war zone that is, the classroom. Nothing new seen in boys and girls who lack a sense of direction and genuine connection.
It's these three factors I mention, that I believe are a huge catalyst in our children's motivation to learn, to grow, and eventually, to strive, achieve and succeed. So instead of talking about what caused these feelings in me as a kid, which would be different for every child, I'll address the reasoning and solutions.
Yes, of course, our measurements of striving, achieving and succeeding may be two very different looking subjective ideas, however, as a concept, we can agree on a general theme of what it takes to attain these qualities.
It wasn't until I was mid way through high school, roughly 15 years old, that teachers stopped having to bear my intolerable mucking around just for a cheap 'lol' from the back row. I don't even need to start on the mindless things I'd do as an adolescent to gain validation and the approval of my peers by making them laugh, at the cost of my learning.
I'd like to say I turned out okay in the end and am who I am today largely due to those three factors. I found inner confidence and a motivation to learn through a sense of direction, purpose and connection to the work I was doing and with those around me.
It was in fifth form, at fifteen, that I got into writing, drama, and critical thinking. But more so, just drama. I found a muse at school. A place that prior to this realisation, was a 9-5 kick-back, goof-off, try-hard-for-friends-but-not-for-grades kinda zone.
I began to strive. To achieve, AND succeed. Eventually stringing together a line of excellences and merits over the following three years before excelling above my peers in curriculum drama in 7th form and achieving a scholarship in drama. Subsequently doing well enough across the board in other areas to pass with Merit over those years.
What did it come down to? A strong sense of direction and purpose and a deeper connection with the work I was doing and therefore a greater capacity for meaningful relationships with my peers and teachers in these areas and stemming into other areas too.
I recognised some strengths of my own. Some gifts that I had, and I developed a passion to invest time and effort into. I grew in self-confidence and motivation for life. An eagerness to get up in the mornings, go to school, still enjoy a laugh with peers (who then became more genuine friends with a mutual respect), learn, strive, thrive and grow. I remember feeling proud of who I was, and more self aware of my abilities as well as my short-comings. I had grit.