I started kindergarden while we were still living in Virgina Beach, VA. I have a lot of fond memories there, we played a game called 7Up and quite a few times my dad would pick me up in the mail van (he worked in the mail room, while he was in school). Its amazing how vivid my memory of that van is even to today. My dad graduated, and became the Rabbi at congregation Brit Hadasha in Memphis, TN that October. That spring I started at a new private school. My memories of that first semester are not quite as bright. The most I can remmeber is a math robot and darkness. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a bad place, just wasn’t as fun as the place i had come from. The rest of my years there were better, my teachers were truly dedicated my and my classmate’s educations and futures. With that said these were the hardest years of my education. I struggled with spelling, reading, and math. I can remember hours upon hours of me and my mom studying spelling after school. I would get fustrated and start crying, she would get fustrated, but in the end we fought through it. After three hard years I got tested for dyslexia, they found I had a mild case of it. I struggled in class copying down information down from the board, but after finding this information out, my teachers really started pitching in and put forth a lot of extra effort to help me learn. After fifth grade my mom decided to homeschool me and my brother. I left private school behind in my reading, grammer, and math skills.
My mom homeschooled me from sixth grade to ninth grade. She invested so much extra time in teaching us. I remember waking up one morning to find a tray on the counter filled with dirt, she had made a fake archeological dig for us. She got us involved with a group of other homeschoolers, together we put on plays, took field trips, achievement tests, and quite a few other extra circular activities. All the while this was going on my mom was constantly trying out new techniques to help me learn. I remember spending several afternoons standing in the living spelling out words in the air. The idea was that tying the motion and the spelling toghether would imprint the information on my mind. It sounds silly, but it proved out to be very effective. I maintained the practice well into college through writting out again and again information from class in order to memorize it. During this time I over compensated for my reading deficency by reading every book I could get my hands on, this too was something that has carried through with me to today.
My sophmore year, something changed. Matt and I went back to private school (Sam remained homeschooled). The main reason for the change was that my mom really didn’t feel adaquate teaching us the higher level stuff. I worked very hard my first year back in private school, and I was very stressed. At times I wasn’t even able to eat dinner with my parents. The hard work payed of though, the next two years in comparison were so very easy. Overall my highschool experience academically was in stark constrast to my elementary school work. My skills in math grew by leaps and bounds, to the point of almost being easy. My reading and writting skills had caught up if not surpassed my classmates, and my love for history even won me a few awards. One of my favorite things about highschool was football. It was out on the practice field that I learned a lot about myself. I didn’t get to see a lot of playing time, but I did enjoy the times I got to get in there. The star of the show was my brother Matt, he was crazy out there, and I was so proud of his athletic accomplishments. There was way too much that went on in highschool for me to write out here, but it was definetly a positive experience.
My academic success continued on into college, where I majored in Computer Science, with a minor in Math. Its hard for me to say that without a smirk on my face. Recognizing all the hard work it was built upon. Lots of sweat equity was built into the foundation of that degree. My college years were a dark time in my walk with God. For the most part I was a Christian in name only. Sadly so were many of my friends. Its not that there were new areas of sin opened up in my life during this time, just that many of them just ran unchecked. I started drinking a few weeks before graduated high school, and it really bloomed in the fraternity lifestyle. There are nights that I can’t remember, many nights that I spent puking, or just in general making a fool of myself. At the time I viewed alcohol as a means to let myself go, as a way to put aside all my concerns and just focus on having a good time. But what I didn’t see were the chains that were binding me and blinding me to the truth, that my life was empty, hollow, void of any meaning aside from seeking self pleasure. My alcohol abuse hit its peak when my dad died, and I literally tried to use alcohol to soften the pain. Glory be to God that He woke me out of the stupor before alcohol consumed my life. It was also during this time (back to my college days) that pornography took an even deeper foothold in my life. Recognizing my shallow existance, I became suicidal. I never made any attempts, but I enjoyed thought. And on more than one occasion came very close to going through with it. Who am I to take away the gift God has given me? Who am I to undo my biological mother’s courageous decision? In the depths of my despair I couldn’t see the simple truth, that I was not alone. Even though I’m a wretched sinner amazingly God still loved me, and He wanted me to be restored to Him. Unfortunetly it took my dad dying for me to realize this. But I know that today, right now, he is rejoicing in heaven, as a whole man, a restored man! Again this was something that started before college, but so many nights bored nights with just me and my computer it became almost a way of life. This grew into sinful relationships with women. It wasn’t until I gave up this lifestyle that I found a true relationship with a Godly woman. Sadly one of the consequences of my sins will always be the lingering regret. But through God, I’ve been forgiven and my sins washed clean. Through God’s grace none of these things hindered my school work (unlike many of my friends who either dropped out or flunked out), and through Jesus’ blood I’ve been set free from the bondage that bound me.