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No Excuses!
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“There will be NO excuses in this class!”

Not my words! I sucked in my breath waiting for the reaction. It was the third session of my Creative Writing class for the Adult Ed program at the local High School. One lady arrived five minutes late each week and spent the next five minutes giving her excuses. That’s when a fellow student, “Dee,” decided to help.

A moment of stunned silence followed the declaration. I hardly dared to look at the lady’s face. But Dee was already inviting the latecomer to sit beside her. Relieved laughter filled the room.

“No excuses,” became the mantra of the class. “We all have interruptions and challenges to our plans,” Dee explained, “but we’re here because we want to write. So let’s write!”

No excuses. We all have dozens of reasons why something intended didn’t get done. Time has a way of escaping from all of us. But as Dee pointed out, in the mental time we use forming our excuses, we could have formed something else—a thought for an article, a memory to record, a seed for a poem. In the time used to speak our excuses, we could have done something productive.

Still Came Late

The lady who came late every session, still came late every session. “Don’t tell us why you’re late. Read us your story.” She wrote marvelous stories that inspired fits of laughter. She wanted to be a comedienne and tell her stories on stage. (I don’t know if she ever accomplished her dream. I don’t want to know her excuses if she didn’t.)

I’m trying to break the excuse habit, too. I’m telling this story because I know life gets in the way of everybody’s goals. But I’ve also discovered that in the time I spend thinking of reasons why I haven’t done something, I can get a good bit of that something done.

A remarkable young man, Kyle Maynard, wrote a book: No Excuses. Kyle was born in 1986 with a condition known as congenital amputation—arms ending at the elbows, legs at the knee. The attitude of Kyle and his family became “pursuit of normalcy.” He types on a normal keyboard, eats and writes without adaptation, drives a vehicle with little modification, and lives on his own. He is an accomplished wrestler, weight-lifter, trainer and motivational speaker. He runs a fitness center: No Excuses CrossFit to aid wounded soldiers in adapting their fitness regimens.

Kyle was the first man to ever “bearcrawl” on his stubbs to the 19,340-ft. summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Marine officer, Chris Hadsall and Army staff sergeant, Sandra Ambotaite, with their own acute disabilities, climbed with him to send a message to veterans and kids with disabilities that “the world has no obstacle too great to be overcome.”

Every good thing accomplished in our world is there because someone saw no excuse not to do it.

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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