Monday, July 31, 2017

Don't Worry. Just Practice.

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom."  ... Proverbs 11:2


Ol' Debra attended 3 high schools(!) and would've gone to another if we hadn't moved--and well--nearly all those schools are planning our classes' 40-year reunions (am I really that old?). 

That would-have-gone-to school held theirs this weekend and I recognized several faces at Facebook and lots of names of those folks, some who I first met at age 11, the age I wrote about in this blog post from 2010.

So--in memory of all those years ago--here you go. Again.


I was in the 6th grade when we first took the President's Physical Fitness Tests.

Dreadful old things.

Especially the test where the teachers placed three strips of white tape on the playground which we had to touch with our feet in a sort-of dancing side to side motion. Quickly. Sound confusing? Well, it was to me, a very uncoordinated, kinda pudgy 11-year old. 

And of course, all the girls in our class stood there and watched the 'attemptees'.

The girls before me seemed to get it. Slide here, stop, slide there, stop, then do it again. Looked simple.


Then came my turn. The two women teachers, one with a stopwatch, said, "Go." And I went. But not with the graceful, almost dance-like steps of my classmates. Uh, no. My way was halting, faltering and I crossed my feet instead, a big no-no.

Kids giggled. One teacher said, "Stop, stop." Then she showed me the right way. I started again and made the same old clumsy-footed mistakes.

"Stupid old President," I thought, my face hot, reddening. "Why's he making us take these tests, anyway?"

Both teachers looked at one another, shook their heads and then one said, "She's just not getting it. Let's write down 16."

You know how words like those translate to a 11-year-old, don't you? "She's just not like everyone else. She will always be the clumsy one."

Heh. (I am laughing right now, so please don't feel bad for me.)

Well, those words (and my kid's view translation) challenged me. I went home that day, asked my mom for some tape, then put down three strips on the sidewalk. Then I practiced that side-stepping, touch-the-tape thing over and over. After some time, I became quite good at it.

But of course, by then, the tests were over. Done.

And yet, I kept the lesson I learned--that for some of us, things take a bit longer. But if we go home and--with no one watching-- practice? We can keep up. We just need more patience with ourselves, more perseverance--and a sense of humor would help, also.

And you know? Junior High and High School presented many opportunities to recall that same lesson. Like with algebra, folk dancing, sewing, art, etc. Even into adulthood I've 'practiced practicing' and often remind myself that no one excels at everything. 

Each of us has his/her own sets of strengths and weaknesses. God made us that way so to keep us humble.

Well, later in high school I'd walk home and then practice gymnastics alone, again and again, and you know? That clumsy 11-year-old, seven years later, became a gold medalist at her (tiny) high school for her floor routine. People told her she was quite the graceful little thing.

How good it feels to be patient with ourselves, to practice what God's equipped us to do and to keep our sense of humor during the clumsy stages rather than quitting so to save our pride.

Pride--is that really something we want to save, anyway? I'm thinking probably not.  😊


Be patient with yourself, first. Only then can you become truly patient with others.

Mix it up! Step out of your comfort zone. Stay fresh, challenged, alive. (Oh, and please don't get stuck within your feelings of inadequacy from school days. Instead, remind yourself how God feels about you, ok?)

"Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."   ... James 1:4



Betsy said...

This brought back so many memories for me. I was the tall, skinny, gangly thing that couldn't do anything athletic at all, but was quite good at all scholarly things. That was NOT popular in school, especially for a girl. (And I'm not skinny anymore either! Ha!) Why do we embarrass kids in front of other kids? I'm sure it's not on purpose, but it's setting the stage for a lifetime of self-doubt and feeling like you're never quite good enough. I have a husband who tells me everyday that he loves me and good friends and I still feel as though I am never good enough. I need to stop, but really don't know how. Thanks for this post today Debra. You always manage to hit a nerve with me. Did you know that? I wish we lived closer as I think we could be quite good friends in "real' life.
Blessings always,

Terra Hangen said...

One awful thing about school I recall was when they would weigh us in gym class and the teacher would loudly announce the weight (everyone could hear) and someone would write it down. How embarrassing for most of us! Now like you I remind myself that God did a lovely job in creating each of us.

Debi @ Tuesdays Child said...

Everything you wrote stood out to me but most of all these words did ... "Stay fresh, challenged, alive." My life has gotten so stale that I rarely do anything any more [anything fun that is]. I really do need to somehow work on this ... not sure how but I'm sure I'll figure something out. I "have" to!