Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Teacher's

I have a good friend named Joni Newman. We went to England together. I fell in love with her. (Not in a a creepy way.) In fact, I fell in love with EVERYONE I went to England with. It would be impossible NOT too when you see how smart and funny and wild and full of life and love and learning these people that I got to go on my adventure with are. Not to sound humble, but to be brutally honest with myself... I was not a first pick for the trip and though I DO think I added to the group... the group would have missed any of its other members had they not gone, than it would have missed me. Honest truth.

I am mentioning Joni today because she has a blog (the Unfortunate Lilly Maid) and I LOVE to read it. She has such a canny writing style that is so honest and yet so interesting and fun to read. A few days she wrote a post that resonated with me SO much so I am sharing two paragraphs of it for your beneift. The only disclaimer that you need is that she is a teacher.

I've had students use the "I'm not good at it!" excuse with me before. My response (in my head, if not out loud) is generally two fold: First, if you aren't good at it, that's fine. It just means that you have to work twice as hard. It's not an insult, it's just how things work until you get better. Second, even if you were good at it, it wouldn't be easy. When you're good at something, it means you're better able to spot the flaws and less able to live in delusions of grandeur. It means setting a higher standard of achievement.

It's so easy to look at the accomplishment of someone else and assume that they must be naturally talented at it which is why they're so good. But that's ridiculous. That's not how things work. In the parable of the talents, harder work leads to greater reward. I used to think this meant more talents in terms of a greater variety of skills in different categories - but that's not the only thing. It means expanding your ability to use (or "spend") your talent. And the only way to obtain more talents is to get out of the dirt and go do something about it.

I mostly post this because this is a response that I feel we should all give ourselves in any point of our lives no matter what situation we are trying for. And because I think it is so GLORIOUSLY true.

Its also something Adam has taught me. In life, but also with academics. People have heard me tease because if Adam gets a 92 or lower on a test that matters... he gets REALLY bummed about it. If it had been me- I would have been stoked just to get an A. But Adam sees that need for a higher perfection level in himself, especially when it comes to something he is already good at. The tiny flaws are not okay anymore.

This is how we see school and academics for our kids. Not good at math? That's fine. So get the rest of your homework done real fast, and then we will work twice as hard at the math. And there is also a margin of error for while you are learning. It is okay to not bee good at something. But you still have to try. Its like a quote I once heard "There is no such thing as failure. Just speed bumps along the way."

I also really like what Joni says about expanding talents. I have been told multiple times in different blessings that I have talents in the arts and I need to expand them and use them. This, besides making me really happy of course because I love the arts, also causes a little consternation because while I have dabbled in A LOT of different art forms, I feel just merely mediocre in all of them.

I know that there will always be better writers, and better sewers, better painters and chefs and teachers and readers than me... and over the past year or so I have begun to realize what Joni has stated so plainly. Having "talents" doesn't necessarily mean being able to do, or being good at loads of things. (Though no one will ever knock trying to learn news things.) But we need to get better at the talents we already have.

Hopefully this is what my serial novel can do for me. I need to get better at the talents I have and frankly- the ones I CHOOSE to have and make the best, since I have never been told specifically what artsy talents I need to progress. I believe whole heartedly that that is MY choice- to form myself to be what I want to be.

Anyways. This is a lot of my random thoughts, but I wanted to share Joni's with you because I found them so true and they stuck straight to my heart. And, I can't wait to get my little project underway- (it WILL probably start some time early April. Give me a chance to get into a rhythm with my kid first and then we will begin :)- thank you all for being the best of friends and readers and so interested in my life! I love the blogging world and reading peoples comments. It really does make me feel blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your flattering words, Sarah! You're a doll. Good luck this week! You can do it!!! (If you get frustrated, just think of Scaffell Pike. If you can hike that, you can do anything, right?!)