the confidence that you can things).
- English =
- History =
- Biology =
- Art = A
- Algebra =
That is what
my report cards looked like every single six weeks of my twelve
years in school. A good student, I had absolutely no trouble in
any subject, but math. All through school, I would dread walking
into Math class because I knew I would walk out feeling lower about
myself than I ever wanted to feel. I can remember sitting in the
front of the class, trying so hard to understand and yet always
knowing that the material was completely beyond my grasp. To this
very day, a sophomore in college, the six year old little boy I
adopted, can do Math better than I can.
along the fourth grade, I gave up trying and told myself that I
just couldnt do math. I tried but I could not pass the tests
to save my life. I always told everyone it was because math doesnt
make sense to me. 2 plus 2 is 4 but why isnt it three or six?
Teachers used to look at me and say, "It just is," But
I couldnt accept that and because my mind couldnt understand
the reasoning, I couldnt work the problems.
Then I got
to the sixth grade. I never failed a math class but I only passed
by the skin of my teeth and I had absolutely zero confidence in
my ability to work out even a simple math problem. Someone could
have told me that 5 plus 2 was eight and even though I would have
known that not to be true, I would have believed it, no matter what
I thought "knew" because I knew how terrible I was in
math. The sixth grade helped boost my confidence a little.
It was in the
sixth grade that I met Mrs. Hogshead, my math teacher. All through
math class, I skimmed by and then here came this major test that
counted for a major portion of our grade. I studied. I tried. I
failed with a forty something. I was saddened, but I thought, "Well,
what did I expect? A miracle?"
I know thats exactly what I was getting. Mrs. Hogshead
kept me after class to ask me if I wanted to retake the test the
following day. Thrilled, I said, "Sure!"
I failed the
exact same test again, this time with a 56. I wasnt happy
but a 56 was better than a 42. Mrs. Hogshead didnt think so.
She asked me if I wanted to take it again. She even allowed me to
take it home. I could have asked my mother for help, or my genius
of a younger sister but I was so worried about maintaining her trust
in me that I didnt ask for help.
the test with a 68.
wanted to retake the test yet again. I was becoming discouraged.
I mean, I had already f ailed the same stinking test three times.
But, by this time, I was determined to show her I could do it, to
live up to the belief I knew she had in me. I took the test for
the fourth time and aced it. I dont think Ive ever been
as proud of anything in my entire life. I hugged her and thanked
her, and Mrs. Hogshead said, "I knew you were trying, and thats
what counted." In my book, what counted was that she believed
in me enough to do that.
So many times,
I think we feel as though our efforts to do the things we know to
be right go in vain, unrecognized. I thought I was the most unrecognizable
kid in any math class at all. But I wasnt. I was quiet. I
didnt cheat and I tried so hard to pass every test that Mrs.
Hogshead knew I was trying and wanted me to know that, with persistence,
effort pays off.
You may feel
as though everyone ignores you but I promise you, Jesus Christ
is not ignoring you, and one day you will discover that, while most
everyone on earth, may not have recognized your efforts, He always
has. And one day, the people that love you will too. I have, over
the years, learnt that it doesnt change the love that God
and my family have for me if I cant do algebra. Whats
more important is knowing that I try to do whats difficult
for me and that I remember to be true to myself. As Abraham Lincoln
once said, "I am not bound to win but I am bound to live up
to the light I have."