When I was in the police academy, almost a quarter century ago,
there were about fifty or sixty of us recruits that started that show.
During orientation we were told, "Not everyone will finish this class.
So donít worry if things donít work out for you and you donít pass.
There is one thing you can be sure of, this training will be very rough.
Itís designed to help you be strong, build character and make you tough.
It wonít be more than you can take, we wonít fire you if you do your best.
And when your training is done, youíll be a cut above the rest.
If you find the training too hard, more than you think you can stand,
you can quit anytime you want, all you need do is raise your hand.
Weíll let you go, we wonít belittle, scorn or try to make you feel bad.
We wonít look down on you or even look at you as if we are sad.
Youíre free to go anytime, just say, ĎI want out of the training program,í
and you can return to what you were before, another ordinary man."
They told us that about half of us would quit before the academy was out.
I remember looking around, wondering who they were talking about.
The academy was hard, in fact it was the hardest thing Iíve ever done.
It seemed everyday someone quit, usually after a "Fun-Run."
"You can stop the training anytime you want and go back to the old you.
Or you can make the decision to stick it out, get tough and see it through.
Think about it, the choice is yours," theyíd yell as we ran.
"You can quit right now or stay and become a new man."
But after awhile the quitters were all gone and the rest were there to stay.
We made the decision to survive and the challenges would be childís play.
At the end of the academy, I was surprised to see what they had said come
That only about half who started the academy had actually made it through.
Those of us who endured to the end would never be the same.
Everything about us changed, from our mind to our physical frame.
Life is the same way. Itís just an academy, donít you see?
Itís designed to make us strong, build our character and help us believe.
The training, though hard, is not more than we can do or stand.
Itís designed to turn a girl into a woman and a boy into a man.
Itís easy to become discouraged, quit and run from our responsibility.
Whatís hard is to remain positive, committed and win through stick-ability.
We started this life as babies. We were soft gentle little things.
But sooner or later we have to grow-up and cut our apron strings.
This life with all itís problems is but an academy for the next.
Our choice is to run from our problems or work and pass lifeís test.
I donít think Iíll ever forget the words they yelled as they ran along side,
trying to instill in us discipline, integrity and something similar to pride.
"Think about it, the choice is yours," theyíd yell as we ran.
"You can quit right now ...or stay ...and become a new man."