The Locksmith

Not Smart Enough for College (6)

Some people see a closed door and turn away.

Others see a closed door, try the knob,

If it doesn’t open…they turn away.

Still others see a closed door,

Try the knob, if it doesn’t open they find a key,

If the key doesn’t fit…they turn away.

A rare few see a closed door,

Try the knob, if it doesn’t open, they find a key,

If the key doesn’t fit…they make one.


The earliest known locksmiths began their trade in Ancient Egypt and Babylon, approximately 4000 years ago. Today locksmiths are still in demand although the profession and trade have changed dramatically.

Locksmithing today mostly deals with repairing industrial locks or working in a shop or mobile van to sell, repair, or make keys for locks that need to be opened. Without locksmith’s skills many of us might be stranded by the side of the road, unable to get into our house, or even open our offices so we can work. The keys they make help us unlock the doors of productivity and success.

I have Tourette Syndrome (TS) along with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and I have had them for as long as I can remember. In my lifetime I have had many locksmiths (figuratively speaking) who have helped me open the locked doors of the challenges I have faced. Without their love, support, devotion, and help I certainly would not be where I am today.

Not many years ago, I was a PhD student at the University of Utah, and it was a challenge to get through the course work and finish my dissertation. As I pursued this degree, I lived through the difficult challenges and frustrations of watching my peers speed through the coursework, leaving me behind, graduating, and finding jobs three years ahead of me.

Throughout this struggle I hoped that I could became known as someone who did not let a closed door or difficult challenge stop me from accomplishing my goals. Earning my doctoral degree was especially meaningful to me as a high school counselor once insinuated I wasn’t college material.

Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned as I faced my college challenges was that I was not afraid to become my personal locksmith and make a key for doors that seemed to close for me. I also realized that through my experiences I could help parents make keys for their children with TS. These keys would be made of hope and encouragement, belief and trust, confidence and courage. I wanted to be a locksmith to those whose doors were locked and needed help making the right key so that they could develop, progress and take advantage of their talents and abilities.

While a locksmith is a valuable and necessary resource to have available whenever a door is locked and a key is needed, parents and their children with TS cannot spend their lifetime depending on others to open their locked doors.

A wise person would take advantage of the opportunities and skills a locksmith provides and then take precautions to protect themselves from ever losing the key. As I evaluate myself and the challenges I have faced throughout my life I give thanks to patient parents, teachers who didn’t give up on me, friends who accepted me for who I was, and a wonderful wife who supports and believes in me. All of these people played an integral role in the development of my locksmith abilities. I would not, could not have succeeded without these people. I hope that my legacy will be that I unlocked my doors and helped others make their own keys so they could unlock their personal challenges leading to success.

While this article focuses on children with TS, the reality is every child has his own challenges and every parent is trying to help their child face his challenges and unlock his potential.

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