We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room,
drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe
this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our
lives. . . . not looking for flaws, but for potential.
my work in education over the last couple of decades, I've
noticed what I consider to be a major flaw in the
approaches that teachers take. They always seem to
be trying to fix things in their students so that the
students can "perform" well. Jenny can't
read well, so let's spend some extra time working on her
reading, because reading is a "necessary"
skill. And Pete is having a hard time with math, so
let's make Pete spend extra time on his math to bring him
"up to speed."
may be news to some people, but there's a very good chance
that Pete never will be very good at math, and that Jen
won't become a good reader no matter how much time you
spend with her.
the meantime, what about their real skills? What
about the things that they're really good at? Why
not allow the students to focus on those things and spend
the extra time getting really good at them? After
all, Jenny's great with animals, and one day she could be
an exceptional veterinarian. And Peter is an
exceptional writer--if all the extra time spent on math
were devoted instead to making his writing even better,
what might he be able to do with his future?
this New Year, there are many things that I would like to
"fix." But if I spend time focusing on
things that I do well and get even better at them, what
kind of potential might I create for myself? What
kinds of heights might I scale? What kinds of things
might I do, and how might I be able to help others even
more by strengthening my gifts, the things that make me
this New Year, I want to focus on developing my gifts and
strengths, and as I do so, I know that I'll watch my flaws
and shortcomings fade into nothingness.