Mr. Takanashi: Focus and Balance


Mr. Takanashi’s Journey to becoming a math teacher was filled with ups and downs. After graduating high school, he went straight to college, but was not taking his classes as seriously as he should have.  He recalls the moment he received the warning letter  from his school that threatened to place him on academic probation unless he brought his grades up. “I ended up thinking ‘they’re not going to kick me out’ so I just quit” he said. After quitting college, Mr. Takanashi went on to get a job as a dishwasher and working his way up to bartender. After some time, he decided to give college another try, “I saw people who were in my grade graduate college and I was like ‘how come they graduated college and I didn’t?'” he recalled, “I started thinking like if this [bartending] is something I want to do for the rest of my life.”  With these ideas in mind, he decided to go back to school, but it wasn’t easy. He went to a community college to build up his GPA to later transfer to a 4-year university. While in school, Mr. Takanashi met a girl in whom he really liked and encouraged him to finish school. “She straight up told me, ‘if you don’t graduate college, I will not date you’” he recalled, “I was like damn that’s harsh, but at the same time I planed on graduating anyway but it was an added motivation.” Later on, that girl became his wife and they now have 2 beautiful daughters. 

Today, Mr. Takanashi approaches teaching and parenting with balance in mind. “I’m really into the idea of focus and balance,” he said, “that’s something I tell my daughter to do because she likes to walk and jump. Normally parents would tell them ‘hey, be careful’ or ‘don’t do that’ because they’re afraid that they’re going to fall. But I’d say ‘it’s okay what you’re doing; you need to focus, pay attention, and balance yourself.’ Instead of just saying ‘be careful.’ You always have to focus on what you’re doing, and not let yourself  be distracted by anything else or else you’re going to fall” he continued, “If I don’t allow myself to also be balanced, have fun, relax, and do other things then I would make myself go crazy. Being well-focused and balanced is what I’m trying to always do.” We can all use some focus and balance in our lives so let’s take a page from Mr. Takanishi’s book and “stay focused.”