Do you remember your first date?

I do!

It is no exaggeration to say it was a “memorable event.”

Unlike most of my friends, I went on my first date at a rather young age. I asked a girl to go out with me when I was 9 years old. We were both in the third grade at Church Street Elementary School in East Point, Georgia. I asked her to go to a movie with me after school, and she said, “Yes.” At that point, I was on an emotional high. Everything was great, and the world was a wonderful place for Sarah and me!

My real world education was about to begin. It started when my father said, “You can’t go alone.” That made no sense to me. Every Saturday I went to the movies alone or with other kids from the neighborhood. I always went without an adult chaperone. It got worse. He said, “I don’t mean an adult chaperone. You can take Tommy.” Tommy was my little brother. He said, “Take him or you don’t go.” I took him.

This story doesn’t get better. On the morning of “the day,” it was raining. My mother insisted that Tommy and I wear our raincoats and galoshes to school. At Church Street School, in those days, 1945-46, there was no cafeteria. Everyone carried lunch to school. I asked to carry our lunch in a paper bag so we could throw the bag in the trash after lunch. Momma insisted we use those nice, metal lunchboxes because they would keep our lunch from getting wet as we walked to school. Oh, I forgot to mention—we didn’t have a car; we walked everywhere.

Picture this if you can. School has let out for the day; the rain stopped long ago; the sun is shining; and here we stand—two boys, ages 9 and 7½, wearing galoshes over their shoes, carrying raincoats, and lunch boxes, each with an armload of school books are arriving at Sarah’s house. Yes, we left all of that stuff on her front porch.

Sarah and I walked to the movie theater with Tommy tagging along behind. Sarah and I sat together and shared popcorn. After the movie, we walked back to her house; Tommy and I picked up our stuff and went home.

The outcome of that blown adventure was that I decided the pleasure of dating was just not worth the hassle and potential embarrassment of unexpected complications.

I was discouraged.

It was seven years later before I went on my second date. This time the girl asked me, and the outcome was totally different. When I returned home, I wondered, “Why did I wait so long, I want to do that again!”

I am a slow learner, but I had learned another Principle of Creative Followership. I learned to remind myself …

Do Not Be Easily Discouraged!

Jimmy Collins

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