Imagine watching a movie of your life — would you see yourself as the hero of the story? While that's our usual experience, there are many types of characters in a story — the Villain, the Mentor, the Guardian — and so on. But what do they all have in common? They all have an origin story.
My origin story begins in Jane and Finch in Toronto in the 1980s (the best decade for cartoons and candy!). I grew up in government housing in a magical place called 20 Yellowstone St, a place haunted by the most eclectic group of friends, allies, and enemies one could not conjure up with even the most fanciful imagination.
There was The Sandman, a guy who once a year used to come out of hiding to create fantastical sculptures of The Titanic, or the Pyramids of Egypt, or great castles and whales in our local sandbox. There was Shorty, who could do a helicopter kick above a tall man’s head. And there was me, a little kid dubbed with the nickname of Jiminy Cricket because of the tracksuit I used to wear as I barrelled down the middle lane of our neighbourhood on my G.I. Joe Big Wheel.
This is a picture of me outside of Topcliff Elementary School. Although this school probably had a lot less funding, support, and opportunity than schools in other parts of Toronto, I had many caring teachers who treated me like their own son and looked out for me (despite my bad behaviour). The principal used to let me sit in her office and look at picture books when I was supposed to be in trouble for fighting in the yard at recess, and the secretary used to sneak me McDonald’s fries as I waited to face the VP or Principal. There was the librarian who used to read fantasy books to me in Grade 3, because she knew my reading ability was still at a Kindergartener level and I would feel left out as other kids read the storybooks during our visit to the library.
Based on these humble beginnings, I never would have thought I would become a teacher with a Master’s degree, and now be starting my own educational company.
What’s your origin story? Be proud of where you’ve come from, and how far you’ve come!
Share your story with us in the comments below!