"There's more than one way to carry money," my parents promised me over the phone. It was simple advice.
A few nights before, my mother had given me a roll of bills. She told me to stick the cash in my socks rather than risk carrying it in my pockets. With a stash of cash in my socks, I flew from South Central Los Angeles to a boarding school in New Hampshire. I was attending on scholarship, a lanky fourteen-year-old boy "from the hood" with beady eyes and a barely noticeable mustache.
I visited the bookstore upon my arrival. There, I pulled up my pant leg, rolled down my sock, and whipped out the wad of cash. As students snickered, I nervously thumbed through the bills, paid, and fled the store.
I called my parents that evening and cried about being different. That's when they assured me there's more than one way to carry money.
Over the years, I have grown to appreciate this advice, which at its core, simply means there's more than one way of doing things. It's a reminder that everyone comes from different places.
I will continue to carry this advice with me everywhere I go. I will maintain an open mind and listen closely to others. I will try not to judge. After all, what I learn from others may just knock my socks off.