Star Student vs. Problem Child

Today, our public education system is broken as we know it. We know it’s broken and they know it’s broken. The real question… What are we going to do about it?

Our current system is diluting the imaginative brilliance of our next generation.

Sure, we can sit on the sidelines and tell ourselves, “Well, they are the teachers. They have masters degrees and PHD’s. They know what’s best for my child. Hell, I barely got through school.”

Deep down inside, we all know it’s not working. We know this system is destroying the unique individual in each of our children. Like it did with so many of us.

I believe, each child and each one of us have been given a unique gift. This gift is one we seek. Once found we feel obligated to use it as our tool to serve. It’s from our service we find purpose.

Putting our children in schools with systems that treat each child as if they are all the same. Boxing them in, destroying any ability to find their gift at an early age. Taking away our children’s imaginative brilliance… a naive young mind has. How can we continue down this path.

Sit here. Do this. Follow my directions.

Do as I say, “I’m your teacher.”

At a young age most children don’t know any different. Most children are taught to, “Do as I say.” Thinking for themselves… Is not allowed. Our school system today is one built on “A standardized approach.” A system based on working hard, following the rules and if you are not successful they deem you “Broken,” or “Stupid,” or a “problem child” that, more and more “need to be medicated.” It’s at this fork in the road where I tend to differ.

Most successful people I’ve ever studied, as a whole, are ones who did poor in school. Coincidence? No. It’s just, unlike the other kids, something inside this “problem-child” said, this set of “standardized rules,” no matter what my teacher is telling me, is the wrong set of rules for me.

In essence, “They don’t work for me.”

A classic example, from first grade to twelfth grade all you ever hear, “What are you going to be when you grow up” The system has trained you to immediately think “Career path.” Go to school. Get good grades. Graduated college. Get a Job, at this very moment you list off, “Doctor, Lawyer, Firefighter, Teacher” in your mind. but as a child your imaginative mind is thinking, “Superhero, Astronaut, Inventor, musician, dancer, actor, professional athlete.” It’s in these moments, as a child, when one decides consciously or subconsciously who they’re going to be?

The “Star Student” or “Problem Child.”

Pick the “Start Student” and you enter a world where working hard, getting good grades, going to college and landing an envious job is all that matters. Keeping up with the Joneses. Fulfilling the status quo. Over time you will be promoted. Eventually, earn a nice retirement. And live happily ever after on a beach or golf course… sipping margaritas and drinking beers with the fellas.

That belief system, without a doubt, is the most destructive belief system ever created, in terms of a person’s ability to showcase their brilliance and adapt in our fast-paced, ever-changing world. Because the “career path” forces you into an identity, a profession, because you went to school and have worked hard for 15 years to become that “profession,” which results in you being defined and limited by it… “I’m a nurse…” “I’m a teacher…” “I’m a pre-med student…”

I have a good friend Ryan who knows this path all too well. That “pre-med student,” was him. His entire identity consisted of being a pre-med student. His professional life was all mapped out. He played by the rules. His career path was a yellow-brick road. High GPA. Hundreds of hours of volunteer work. A medical mission into the rural bush of South Africa. Then it happened, four straight years of rejection from 47 different medical schools. And now who was he? A pre-med student (the identity he had worked so hard for) without a medical school acceptance… He was just a failure. In his mind. Later, he would come to find out otherwise.

Pick the “Problem Child” and you’ll be told you need medication, you don’t pay attention in class and you are smart but your grades don’t show it. You may or may not go to college. You might get a “Real Job.” Either, won’t last long because sitting in one place drives you nuts. Money will never really matter. Other than to eat and provide shelter. One saying always keeps floating through your mind, “Work Smarter Not Harder.” All the while you seek to find your life’s purpose. Knowing, there is more to life. Knowing, anything is possible.

Your belief system will be challenged everyday of your life. Society will tell you you’re crazy. It won’t work. You can’t do that. All the while you “The Problem Child” keep saying to yourself, “I don’t care what they think.” continuing to seek your purpose, find your passion and deliver on what your gut is telling you. As long as you never quit. Fulfillment is your destiny. The journey is your driving force. I know what it’s like to be the problem child… Always pushing boundaries, breaking rules and testing the system. I, Tim Murphy, have been doing it my whole life.

Growing up I was always the gifted athlete who dreamed of one day being a professional Football, Baseball or Hockey player. Day in and day out all I ever wanted to do was play sports and compete to see who was best. School, was just school. It was boring. I could never sit still and was always talking or messing around with other kids. My teachers would solve a problem over and over on the board… I already knew the answer so I didn’t care to learn it again. You see, that was my problem. I had a passion for being the best. So, I worked hard to understand. Push myself to grasp concepts and ideas. My problem with the system. When I had the answer and nobody else did; I sat around waiting for them to figure it out. That’s when I got into trouble.

As I became older, I started skipping school. breaking the rules to see just how much I could get away with. I wouldn’t do homework because I thought I had everything figured out.

Then came high school, being a star athlete anything was possible. Rules, what are they. I don’t follow rules. Getting busted by the principle for pushing my limits outside of school and skipping school every chance I got. Until one day, a few teachers started treating me different.

They put me in classes where I could do mentorships outside of school. They let me join advanced classes even when I didn’t have the best test scores… Just to see how I would do. I think they said, “Well if we can’t get this kid to sit still with the other students. Then let’s push him and force him to keep up.”

Did I struggle in Advanced classes? Yes. Did I succeed in mentorships outside of school? Yes. Did I ever quit? No.

My senior year in high school, everything started falling into place. My teachers and I figured out what worked for me. We didn’t have a choice. The talent was there but the system didn’t work for me. Thank god, a few teachers decided to treat me “The Problem Child” just a little differently.

It wasn’t until a decade later, after graduating college as a 25 year old. I realized following the system wasn’t for me. Getting a “Real Job” wasn’t for me. That’s when I started my own business in real estate. Being my own boss, setting my own expectations and pushing myself harder than any manager ever would… I found my place in the world. I felt at home. Finally!

However, I still didn’t realize how different I really was.

As a young man, in my parents’ home, there were three rules you never broke. Rule number one, tell the truth at any cost. Rule number two, treat others like they want to be treated. Rule number three, never quit.

My father instilled these rules into me. These rules became my religion. The building blocks of my character. It was my religion which held me back in the world of real estate sales. Because I could never bring myself to be like all the others. Again, I was the “Problem Child.” Going against the grain, breaking the rules on how to “Make Money” and be successful based on what everyone else was doing. All because of three principles, as a child, I was trained to never deviate from.

That’s when it happened…

After decades of seeking my mission in life, seeking out my voice and seeking tools to tell my story. I found it.

I found my place in this world, through the art of storytelling. Reluctant, to share my story with the world I found strength in one thing. Purpose, All my life I have known I have a gift. All my life, I felt a burning desire to motivate those around me. A passion for inspiring others to be more than they thought possible. By discovering their hidden brilliance.

It was when my daughter, at the age of two, was diagnosed with type one diabetes. That very moment I knew.. Now, it has found me. My two year old daughter has T1D and this changed everything for me. From the day she was diagnosed with this disease the Lord confirmed my purpose, which I contemplated since 15.

Now, I know, I must tell my story. I’m a storyteller.

This will take focus, frustration, hard work, research, dedication and implementation. It will be uncomfortable, revealing and powerful.

I believe, I have a vision, a passion and a story I can deliver with my heart and everything I have. I know when I tell my story to the world, like I have to a select few, it will make an IMPACT. It will provide hope and change people’s lives.

Everyone of us is a star.

Focus on building your LEGEND and fulfillment will find you.

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