Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm Good At Making Circles

So one of my professors said something hurtful to me tonight (and amazingly, despite the provocation, I did not burst into tears. Clearly that Chana has really disappeared for good; it's a wonder what bullying and yelling will do to a child. Indeed, I even laughed it off! Then again, my professor- probably because he felt bad- also dedicated the Midrashic portion of the lecture to me, since he knows I appreciate Midrashim.) I resisted the desire to cry once everyone was gone and instead thought of a maxim I admire from a book entitled A Smile As Big as the Moon.

One of the parts I love most about this book is the following- the students have trained and arrive at Space Camp, only to be informed they have to take a test. It's a test they weren't expecting, one they did not know they were going to be taking. The students are upset that their teachers hadn't informed them that they had to take this test. Well, the teachers themselves had not known about it! One student with Down's Syndrome, however, named Ben, responds in this way:
    “Don’t worry, Coach. We’ll do good.”
    I smiled. “I know, Ben.”
    “This is multiple choice, right?”
    “I think so.”
    Ben’s face lit up.
    “Give me a pen! I’m good at making circles.”
    I had never been happier to have Ben as part of our team. He was unflappable, irrepressible, and his attitude was almost always upbeat. I pulled him close. “Thanks, Ben.” (201)
Some people think that if at first you don't succeed, you should try, try again. Sometimes that's an effective solution. But I also think that if you don't succeed, you should find something else you're good at.

"I'm good at making circles," Ben said. He focused on what he could do - color in ScanTron dots- as opposed to what he could not control- the fact that he had not known there was a test. Well, I did something similar. I pulled out my phone, called up the girl I am to learn with and finalized exactly what we would be learning together (Megilas Rus and the Haftorah of the week, for those who are interested). And she doesn't realize it but she just made me happy- because even though I may be the stupidest person in the world in one subject doesn't mean that I can't do something worthwhile in another arena.

Or, more simply, I'm good at making circles.


The Cousin said...

We all have our strengths and weaknesses...

It is important, imho, to maintain (if not increase) ones strengths while at least making an effort to try to improve on an area in which one is weak. It doesn't mean that one should give up on their weakness...rather at least find a way to incorporate ones strengths into it.

For example, I'm horrible when it comes to drawing/painting type art. But the other side of my brain is wired to be able to understand and appreciate the works of art themselves. Sure every now and then I'll try to doodle something--and in doing so I further my knowledge of the latter category.

Now with that bit of rambling...I'm off to sleep...which is something I'm extremely proficient with! :)

inkstainedhands said...

Don't you think you're being a bit harsh on yourself in saying that you're stupid in a certain subject? Perhaps you are just not as good at it as you want to be (and I am guessing that you have high standards for yourself), but that doesn't mean you're no good.

RT said...

My dear,

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

May the force be with you!

Anonymous said...

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.”