Billy’s Tale - An Inspiring Story
This is a story about Billy. His family were poor and they spent most of their time on the road, travelling from city to city so his dad could find work.
One day, his school teacher set the class an assignment. The task was to write a story about who they wanted to be when they grew up.
When Billy got home from school he told his parents about his homework. He was so excited about it.
He wrote down his dream of owning a farm. Living on acres of land where he looked after animals and grew his own vegetables. He wrote in great detail what his country estate would look like, his large farmhouse and expansive grounds, the family he would love and support and the joy he would feel.
He woke up the following morning, excited to hand in his homework and two days later the students received their grades.
When Billy was given his paper he was devastated to see the letter F circled in thick red ink with a note that read, See me after class.
At the end of the class, his stomach tied in knots, Billy approached the teacher’s desk. He asked,
“Why did I get an F?”
The teacher looked at him and said,
“This is an unrealistic dream for a boy like you. You come from a poor nomadic family. You will never have what it takes to achieve this level of success. If you rewrite the paper and make it more realistic I will reconsider the grade”
With tears in his eyes, Billy left the classroom. Later that evening he told his parents what the teacher said. He asked them what they thought he should do.
His mum said, “I don’t know, Billy, it’s up to you but I think it’s a very important decision for you to make.”
The next day, Billy handed in the paper unchanged and said to the teacher,
“You keep your F and I’ll keep my dreams”.
Years later, a group of school children and a teacher arrived on a large country estate for a school trip.
They were shown around the large country house, visited the animals and spent the evening sleeping in the fields looking up at the stars. After breakfast the next morning they were invited to meet the owner of the property.
The children walked into the owner's office, some of them sat on large leather upholstered chairs and others huddled in groups on expensive Persian rugs that covered the floor. They faced an antique English Oak polished desk where the owner was standing with his family.
The owner began his introduction with a story about a little boy called Billy who had a difficult childhood.
At the end of the story, he walked over to a large fireplace. Above the mantle, on the wall, hung a framed piece of paper.
In the corner of the frame was the letter F in thick red ink. The owner turned to the students and said,
“I tell you this story because I was that boy and this is my country farm, 17 acres of land, animals, family and home.
This is the life I imagined when I was a child. This was the dream I carried in my heart every day when teachers told me it was impossible, when people told me to get my head out of the clouds and stop daydreaming.
So, I stand here today to say to you, don’t listen to the naysayers or the doubt-seekers. When people attempt to crush your spirit, don’t let them. Don't give them that much power.
Dream as big, as wild, and as audacious as your imagination will carry you. Do this because it is your dream and you are the only person who can bring it to life. Never stop believing in yourself and never give up.”
At the end of the talk, the children gathered around the owner and asked him questions about the farm and the animals, about his life, his achievements and success, clinging to his every word.
Eventually, the children left the room, inspired and uplifted. The only people left were Billy and the teacher. The teacher walked across the room stopping a few paces behind Billy. He said in a soft voice,
“I’m sorry, Billy.”
Billy turned to see his old school teacher looking at him with tears in his eyes.
The teacher went on,
"Back then I crushed a lot of children’s dreams. For that, I am truly sorry. Unfortunately, so many children's dreams were shattered by the mark of my pen. So many of them would have achieved so much more if they didn't believe that the letter on a piece of paper defined who they could be.
Thankfully, you had enough determination to not let my words stop you. I’ve been bringing my class to your farm for years hoping that one year I might see you so I could say to your face that I am sorry."
So, dear reader, never forget that your dreams matter, they are valid and worthy of pursuing.
At the same time be mindful of the dreams of others. Be sure to support and champion other people as they embark on their own adventures.
There is space for all of us to dream and to bring to life our greatest desires.
Now, go - be the person your inner child is dreaming for you to become ~
With all my love
Inspired by Darren Hardy's book 'Living Your Best Year Ever'