"You'll either be a millionaire or locked up."
We can all encourage youngsters as they grow up and that can, without you knowing, have a great effect on their future.
To illustrate this, here are two stories:
Gary Grant left school with just one O-level in Maths. At the age of 23, he and his wife Catherine took over their first toyshop in Buckinghamshire and founded The Entertainer toy store chain. Now they have over 100 stores in the UK.
Gary became a Christian in 1991, after attending a men’s breakfast at his local church and how The Entertainer is run, reflects his beliefs. Faith is central to decisions, none of the shops open on a Sunday, products such as Halloween goods or realistic weaponry are not stocked and ten per cent of profits are given to charity.
And yet it might not have turned out this way if it had not been for some people who encouraged him when he was growing up.
Gary explains in this 2 minute video:
The other story is anonymous for obvious reasons:
“My mother and father did not get on and I grew up, as an only child, in a house of evening arguments – especially after my father had had a drink. After my father physically abused my mother one evening, she left and I was bundled into a taxi at 2am. I was aged nine. My mother then died of cancer when I was 15. We were living with my grandmother with two bedrooms between the four of us and a fold down bed in the living room. I moved back in with my dad.
“Soon after, I went off the rails. I started committing crime – stealing, breaking into premises, etc. I did so badly at school that I was held back to repeat my fourth year. This was the school that everyone was so proud that I gained entrance to, especially my mother. Anyway, the head geography teacher started to take an interest in me as a person and, surprise, surprise, that, without me really knowing it, made a difference. I excelled in geography and I was made a prefect. I became rugby, basketball and volleyball captain and gained more qualifications in my final year than I had in the previous two.
“That little bit of care and compassion from a wise teacher, when my father at home couldn't care whether I was home or not, turned something inside me to offer a different view of life. Twenty years later I became a chief executive of a public authority and I now chair a charity where we have many volunteers who weekly befriend troubled youths between 7-17.”
Who can you make a difference for today?
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