Writer's Survival Guide 9: Always Dream
I just finished reading a short interview with Kristi Yamaguchi, the Olympic gold medal figure skater. Featured in the April issue of Family Circle, the article concentrated on how Kristi balances family and work (she's published the New York Times Best Selling children's book, Dream Big, Little Pig!). Her motto, "Always Dream," resonated with me.
It got me to thinking about what kind of attitude we can take:
Who am I to want that?
Why not me?
Ever since fourth grade, I've been a "Why not me" gal. Here's why.
In the middle of third grade, my family moved to a small town at the bottom of Indiana. It was my first foray into the public school system. The day I started school, I made a comment about how thin the reading book was (at my old school, I'd spent the entire year bumped up a grade for reading, and our text was thick).
In this classroom, students were divided into three reading groups--low, middle, and advanced. There were two or three kids in the low group, a dozen in the middle, and six or seven in the advanced. The teacher had overheard my comment, and he promptly put me in the low reader group, with the warning, "you're going to have to work hard if you want to read with the middle group."
Honestly, the teacher didn't like me, and his attitude soon spread throughout the classroom. I spent the rest of the school year without a single friend. I did work hard in the low group, which was self-taught. We selected kindergarten level books, read them, and took short quizzes. He never worked with the low group. He spent all of his time with the middle and advanced groups.
Life in this new school bewildered me. Was I dumb? Why was I reading such simple stories? And why did all of the kids act like I didn't exist? I had gotten along well with my classmates at previous schools.
I worked very hard to move to the coveted middle reading group, and about a month before school ended, the teacher bumped me up. I was thrilled to take part in the discussions, but even when I answered his questions, I would often get a stern look or a snide comment. Only once did I ever get a sticker (I still remember it was a grape scratch n' sniff) for doing a good job. The kids no longer ignored me, but they didn't befriend me either.
It took years before I realized there was nothing wrong with me, that a teacher had held my fate in his hands, and he'd abused it. But before I came to that realization, something changed within me.
We moved back to Michigan that summer, and from fourth grade on, I knew deep within me, that I was good enough. My attitude morphed from "Who am I to want that?" to "Why not me?" at every level. I no longer feared trying out for things. I no longer stressed constantly over friends. I'd survived six months with zero friends--I knew I could survive anything.
Over the years, I've come across other tainted people who have tried to mess with my sense of self-worth, but they couldn't. Sometimes I think I've been exposed to a higher percentage of such people than the average person! But always, always, I've stood firm in my belief in myself.
God plants a seed within us, and this seed assures us that no matter what is going on around us, we are perfect in His sight. It allows us to be honest with ourselves. I know my shortcomings, and I know my strengths. No one can convince me one of my strengths is a weakness.
So what does this have to do with the motto, "Always Dream?"
Whatever you crave, whatever you're striving for--it's possible. Never let anyone tell you you're less than what you are. Never let anyone convince you dreams are for other people, for smarter people, for better people.
You're here for a reason.
Have you dealt with bias in your life?
Enjoy your Monday!