I had to take Geometry twice in high school just to pass with a C. Not only that, but I also had to give up my lunches to be in Mr. Yamaguchi’s room throughout most of the semester for detention for being late and to get extra help. And somehow, I passed Geometry. I didn’t think it was possible.
I felt so defeated and a bit stupid. Why didn’t my brain work like other kids?
And then there was Biology. Let’s not even talk about it. And Chemistry, never even took that one—I knew better, and luckily I didn’t need it to graduate.
What did I excel in?
Fantasy. Creating. Make believe. Daydreaming. Making friends with the smart kids.
Teachers are heroes. I loved most of my teachers as a kid—even though they usually made me sit with the boys for talking too much. That’s another thing I was good at—talking.
Unfortunately, we don’t get graded on making friends and daydreaming and creating. But those are qualities that will help you go far in life. And yet, coming home with an F in math or science will cause most parents concern. We tend to focus on the things that challenge our kids in school. “Mrs. W we really need to talk about your daughter’s inability to focus and help her get her math equations right,” says the teacher.
While other kids studied, I was creating “shows” for the family. I’d dress up my little sister and cousins and force—persuade—them to dance, sing, and say lines. The adults loved it. I even made-up songs. I’m not much of a singer, so they were more like rhymes, but they made the grownups laugh.
Why don’t kids get a grade for making people laugh? That’s a skill, right?
I always thought I wasn’t very smart. That is until I learned to lean into my gifting. At some point, I recognized that my lack of thinking, like others, was actually a talent, it was a gift. And it was a gift that I could develop to be useful and productive.
As kids grow and learn in the classroom, just by nature of having so many children in one class, there has to be a system to teach all the children at once. I’m not being critical here, on the contrary, it was my schooling that taught me how to write and tell stories and be disciplined and stay the course. But in the classroom setting, we tend to look for what’s bad or what’s a challenge for the child. Somehow we need to turn this around and look for where a child is talented and brilliant.
When we focus in on what’s wrong we can sometimes miss the magnificent.
One of the most famous physicists of the 20th century, Albert Einstein, had an even more brilliant mother. When a note came home from his teacher saying Albert was basically too dumb to teach his mother told him that the note said that his teachers could no longer teach him because he was so smart. She added that he would change the world. You may have heard this story. But have you ever thought about what would have happened to little Albert if his mother hadn’t found books and begun teaching him herself?
We can focus on our strengths, and we can teach children this too. We are all uniquely and wonderfully made. If we zoom in on where we are most talented we can accomplish so much.
And the things we don’t know how to do well? We can find others that excel in those areas. And make friends.
“All that you do must be done in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:14
Help your child focus on their strengths, Turtle Finds His Talent: Discovering How God Made You Special will help you do just that.
by Lucille Williams