by Peter Johnson
At the end of 2016, the court case began. I wanted to live with my dad. My mom, however, did not approve. Through the next year and a half, I learned much about my family, and even more about myself. But there was one thing I learned that I will never forget: the fact that mindset matters. The way you think about things affects your actions, so it is always good to keep a positive yet realistic outlook.
Tuesday September 6th, 2017: The first day of school. I decided not to go that day, but later my brother woke me up and got me to go. After reaching the school, I had to have a talk with Sergeant Hatfield, the officer investigating me for truancy. While I did not respect police, I knew I had no choice. I ended up going to school that week, surprisingly, but resumed skipping after it. Eventually, while continuously seeing police, they became more and more irritated. The Berkley police are generally known to be good cops, but what people don’t realize is when it comes to children they are very corrupt. I have known them to accept abuse, and even place kids in juvenile detention over parental problems.
Seeing their apathy, I knew we had mutual disrespect. They ended up threatening me with “jail time” and at that point I had completely begun to ignore them. I mean, who has ever been arrested over skipping? I continued to do whatever I wanted and waited for December 4th: The next court date. It was a long wait, but I had a feeling that something good would come out of it. I was sort of right, sort of wrong.
On December 4th, the court order on my case was written. I was required to take a drug test, have many wellness checks, go to school, as well as live with my dad. I decided to go to class that day, having a somewhat better outlook. I only went to science, but at least it was something. I got many tests, some of which I had never shown up to collect, and much more I hadn’t taken. Written on a note attached was some advice: “Peter, I know you have had a hard time this year, and I hate to see kids go through that. You have a great mind, and I know you will do well as long as you try!” As long as I try. That stuck with me.
That year, I learned a very valuable lesson. Even after my family, the courts, the police, everyone had given up on me, my teacher held out hope for me. She inspired me to change my mindset, and actually try. While I have changed it somewhat, I took great advice out of that note: Mindset matters. The way I decide to think about things affects how I do things. As long as I think positively, things will always end up well. And as long as I hold out hope during tough times, I will make it through.