I was recently reading a friend’s blog and it struck me that there is more to learn from this blog than just the adventures of an ADD mom. She spoke so eloquently about the struggles that life can be for those of us who are less than perfect. Who, with all our flaws, are just doing the best we can and trying to make it through the day. The judgments of others can be harsh, but the judgments that we have for ourselves can be much worse. I used to wrestle daily with feelings of inadequacy. I would look at these moms, or these teachers, or these women, who just seemed to have it all together, and I wondered why I couldn’t be quite so flawless. My hair always a little out of place, my lessons a little scattered, and did I just send my kids to bed without brushing their teeth?
Some people have the gift of beauty. Their homes are beautiful, they make elegant cards, and throw flawless, colorful parties. They decorate beautiful cakes, and cook healthy meals that they serve up on hip, sleekly designed plates, at cultured and exquisitely set tables. Then they take photographer quality pictures that they scrapbook like Martha Stewart. I used to wonder if my kids would grow up and wish their mother was more…more organized, more on-top of their schedule, more of a gardener, more hip, more beautiful…
Then I learned that my house is always going to be a bit messy and a little unorganized. My kids are always going to be a little late and miss the odd gymnastics class. I was always going to have weeds in my garden and McDonald’s drink cups in my car. It doesn’t mean that I get to stop trying. It just means that I get to accept who I am today, and what I am capable of today, while keeping an eye to where I want to go. And I do go, one step at a time, one breath at a time, one second at a time, always moving in the direction of my goal.
I may never be perfect but I will always be good enough. My efforts may not be lovely, but they will always be loving. We don’t have the choice of what talents we have , or whether we got five talents, two talents or simply one. All we can do, is the best we can do. When faced with the “hills” of life, when we are struggling to breathe and thinking we don’t have enough to get us to the top, we can quit, or we can humbly get off our bikes and walk to the top with everyone else awaiting our slow ascent. The latter choice takes courage, and it is all anyone can ask.
All of us need to remember that no matter what our talents are, or how many we have, we will all be presented with a situation that will require courage and humility. When those moments come, if they happen to us, let us hope that we have what it takes to do what may seem like the bare minimum to someone else, but is every thing we can do in that moment. If it happens to someone else, let us be the kind, old, man in my friend’s story, who offers words of encouragement. Let us bolster those around us, to build in them a capacity to do what they could not do alone.
As educators and caregivers, let us remember that these burdens are no less weighty when they fall on the shoulders of young people, and our responsibility to bolster, encourage and build capacity is far greater. Beauty may not be my talent, but then how can I expect it to be anyone else’s?