Life can be tough. 2

from book

The main character of our story is an adolescent named Abraham – or Abe, as people usually called him. Abe was your archetypical American teenage boy, right down to being a star player on the high school football team. He was in his senior year, with graduation beckoning on the horizon. His dream was to play football in college.  But Abe wasn’t just a jock; he also liked the academic side of school, especially science class, which was taught by his favorite teacher, Mr. Jackson.  From the outside, it seemed like everything was going alright for Abe. But one day, he came into his science class in a pretty foul mood, feeling hatred toward everything around him. Mr. Jackson noticed something was wrong and wanted to find out what was going on, so he asked Abe to stay after class.  In the private, heart-to-heart conversation that followed, Abe opened up to Mr. Jackson and let it all spill out. He was feeling a lot of stress and anxiety in both of the main areas of his life. At home, his parents were fighting, and the word “divorce” had even come up. At school, there were some upcoming exams, an essay assignment and a big Friday night football game looming over him.  The game was a particular point of pressure. Not only could a victory bring his team one step closer to reaching the state championship, but there would also be college scouts watching from the bleachers.  And then, on top of all that, there was the weight of other people’s expectations for a star player on the football team. If he played well, he felt under pressure to continue making people happy. If he didn’t play well, he felt the sting of their disappointment.  Do any of these things sound familiar? You don’t have to be an American high-school football player to relate to this story. Like Abe, you’ve probably encountered your fair share of family troubles and the equivalents of big games in your life, such as important presentations, meetings and interviews. At times, you’ve also probably found yourself feeling under too much pressure from too many sides at once – especially if you feel the weight of expectations that come with trying to be an exceptional parent, manager, coach or whatever role you might play in life.  How can we get through these challenging times and overcome these sources of stress? Well, Mr. Jackson has some surprising advice – not just for Abe but for all of us.