My dad has always had these one liners; little gems of wisdom that he likes to say to all his kids… multiple times.
“Amber, if you get straight A’s you can write yourself a check to any college you want to go to.” I started hearing that one when I was 8. “Ok dad, straight A’s, got it!” That’s a piece of cake when you are a 3rd grader.
Once you hit middle school, completely different story. For me it was hard enough to make it through the day without being emotionally scarred let alone try to think about my grades.
After being bullied through my six grade year my mom transferred me over to a new middle school. What’s worse than 7th grade? Being the new girl in 7th grade. But I guess that was better than what I had to face at my other school. Let’s just say that when I had to go back onto that campus as an adult for one of my kids’ soccer games… I could hardly get out of my car. I can vividly remember the time I walked into class and could not figure out why everyone kept pointing and laughing at me. I was almost ready to run out when a boy told me to touch the back of my head. What did I find? A maxi pad stuck in my hair courtesy of the 8th grade girls that shared the locker above me. Its ok, you can laugh. I even laugh at it now. I just didn’t laugh when I was 11.
Nothing like that repeated at my new school but my confidence was completely shot; and it started to show in my grades. Instead of A’s and an occasional B it was more like D’s and C’s with my only A in PE. Even that A was on the line because I didn’t want to hold a boy’s hand for the dance section of PE. Where would I be today if I didn’t learn the Country Two-step and Cotton Eye Joe?
With each report card I could see that “check to any college” slipping away. When you are little and your parents tell you can do something great, you believe it! I stopped believing I was smart. I even thought maybe I’d have to cheat to get the grades I wanted. Yep, I’m admitting it right here, I had a short phase of being a cheater pants. Funny thing was my grades didn’t get any better so I must have been really bad at cheating as well!
Getting bad grades didn’t feel good. Cheating felt even worse, so sometime before the last report card of the year I decided I had to do something better. There was one class I liked and the teacher actually liked me, English. I thought maybe I could at least get a good grade in that class? When I opened up my final 7th grade report card you would have sworn I had all A’s from my reaction. Nope, just two A’s, one in PE and one in… English (no you don’t have permission to start looking for grammatical errors)!
That A was a turning point for me. I had set a small goal and I had achieved it! I proved to myself that I could get an A in a hard class. Over the summer I decided that I was going to try to get at least one more A on my first 8th grade report card. I did it! With every new A I got I decided I could get one more, until the end of eighth grade I had all A’s and one B. Of course my next goal was to get straight As in ninth grade.
I graduated from high school with all A’s and one B.
“I wrote my check to college” as my dad told me I could do and graduated from college with all A’s and one B. Those blasted B’s haha! No, I’m not telling this story to brag (although every now and then I would tell a someone just to watch their disbelief. I guess they thought that dumb blonde thing was true.)
Yes, the A’s were nice but what I am truly grateful for was the lesson I learned that wasn’t taught in any of my classes. I now have a big metal “A” sitting on my desk to remind me that there is true power in believing in yourself.
There is power in looking forward and dreaming that you can accomplish something more, then taking that first step. I didn’t miraculously become smart. I took on something small I could be successful at; and that success gave me hope that there was more in me than I thought.
Is there something you wish you could do better at? Is there something you’ve always wished you could do but are worried that you can’t, so you never try? Am I sounding like cheesy motivational speaker? Good! Whatever works! Anyone you have ever admired has gotten there through small steps. The person you have the potential to be is waiting for you to do something small today that will keep you going on the path you are on or move you to a completely different path.
What about our children? Are we giving them things to do that they can feel proud of, that will help them see their amazing potential? What is that little voice in your head saying right now? “Shut up Amber, I already have too much on my plate?” Thats ok, sometimes I say that to myself too. 🙂 Whatever you are hoping… go for it! As doubts come along (like every 5 seconds in my case) brush them off and keep going.