Hitting the Target

Hitting the Target

I read of a boy who had a small rifle. He and his brothers would set up a target and then shoot at it. His brothers all shot straighter and hit the target oftener than he. Why? What was wrong with his shooting? He aimed the gun, closed his eyes, and then pulled the trigger. No wonder he missed the target.

What do you want to be some day? Does Mary want to be a nurse? Nursing then will be her target. She must be careful not to miss it. Does Frank want to be a teacher? Teaching then will be his target. He must be careful not to miss it.

Let me tell you about a boy who did not miss the target. His name was Richard. He lived in the mountains of Kentucky. One day as Richard was riding, his horse stumbled, threw him and broke his arm. An old doctor who had been helping those mountain people for many years was called to set the broken arm. He called every few days to see that everything went well with the broken bone. After a short time the arm was as good as ever.

But Richard's parents were very poor and would find it difficult to pay the bill. The doctor knew this all the time, and therefore refused to take pay for his services. There were many poor people in those Kentucky mountains, but the good doctor never refused to give help even if they were unable to pay him. Richard, however, felt indebted to the doctor and promised to mow his lawn that summer. This pleased the old doctor very much.

But that summer the old doctor died and many people came to the funeral service for they all loved him. It was then that Richard began to feel that perhaps he would like to become a doctor. Now there was no doctor in that entire region in the mountains That winter when many people were sick, Richard definitely decided some day to take the old doctor's place. To become a doctor was Richard's target. That was something at which to shoot. Would he miss the target? Let us see.

He went to High School which was seven miles away. There was no bus to take him there; and even if there had been, he would not have had money to pay the fare. He walked the seven miles winter and summer. In the warmer months he walked the distance in his bare feet and carried his shoes in order to save the leather. When he came near his school he would put on his shoes. He finished his High School course. He still wanted to be a doctor. This was his target. He did not want to miss.

Then Richard had to go to college to study medicine. But this would cost more money than he had. In fact he had no money at all. His parents could not help him for they were too poor. So for two years he had a job as a fireman on a big steam engine. He was now earning his own money, and it certainly would have been easier for him to stay on this job and forget all about college. But indeed not! He had made up his mind to be a doctor. This target he did not want to miss.

Richard worked his way through medical college in this hard way. Several times he had to stop his college education to earn more money to go on. Therefore, it would be a long time before he could become a doctor. He was not a student who got his lessons easily. He had to work hard to keep up with the rest of the class. Some of the students who had plenty of money, and still others who found studying very easy, and who had decided to become doctors, dropped out of college and went into something else. They were like the boy who aimed his rifle at the target, closed his eyes, and then pulled the trigger. The boy missed. Some of these students missed. They did not keep their eyes on the target.

But Richard plodded on and on. He often thought of the old doctor who had set his broken arm. The thought of the poor people in those mountains who needed a doctor spurred him on. Finally the day came when Richard was a real doctor. He took the old doctor's place to work among the people whom he loved. It had been a long hard struggle. But he kept his eyes on the target and did not miss.

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