Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Blessing of an A Minus...

There is a great parenting book titled “The Blessing of a B Minus” by Wendy Mogel. The theme of the book is summed up well in the following quote:

“What parents don’t realize is that there is still a normal curve. Most kids are in the middle. Some kids will never love to read or never be good at math and they can still lead productive, happy lives.” (Wendy Mogel)

As a returning student after decades away, I don’t have parental pressure, but I still push myself. Suddenly I’m the one that has to be gifted....or else. And, this quarter I had one class that I was not only not gifted in, I was below the curve.

I felt behind from the first day as one of the two English majors who had never taken statistics. We both came to every class completely bewildered after the course readings. But, the material started to make sense gradually, thanks to a good professor and a study group that took pity on us and explained concepts in ways we understood.

Well, after spending inordinate amounts of study time, my final grade for the course was an A minus. Was I disappointed with the minus? Not a chance! I was happy to earn any kind of A. After all, this was a class I nearly dropped after the first week I was so confused.

The grade wasn’t a gift either. I spent more effort on that class for that A minus, than my other courses simply because my natural abilities made those classes easier.

And, maybe it’s because I’m a returning student, after such a long hiatus, but I relish the satisfaction of working hard and succeeding in a tough (for me) class.

Yes, this A minus really was a blessing! I earned it but I appreciate it too.

“I can feel how large, how essential this moment is as it’s happening; that is what I have come to love about being an adult, to the extent that I can claim that title: that one knows more about how good things are, how much they matter, as they’re happening, that knowledge isn’t necessarily retrospective anymore.

When I was younger, I missed so much, failing to be fully present, only recognizing the quality of particular moments and gifts after the fact. Perhaps that’s the one thing that being “grown up” is: to realize in the present the magnitude or grace of what we’re being offered.” -Mark Doty