I had many talents as a student. I knew how to stay quiet. I sat still in class. I was reasonably bright. I worked hard. I participated. And I knew how to take a test. I could compete. In my 18+ years of school, I ticked off achievements like items on my vegetarian grocery list.
I had a full basket but I was always wondering if I had enough fruit or how long my vegetables would last. And could I actually make anything with what I had in that basket? Plus, I was always checking out other people’s baskets. Maybe I needed meat? Was my basket big enough? Oh, I wish I had more apples!
What a shame. Instead of enjoying what I had, I always had an eye on others. I had to. You can’t compete if you don’t know what you are competing against.
Competition is a cornerstone of American public education. One look at the website for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which 45 U.S. states have adopted, will tell you that.
Here’s a talent I wish I had but don’t: finding contentment inside. That is, giving up what I thought I should do, and instead living within my own harvest. I’ve come a long way, but it’s still not something I do well. You can take the girl out of school but you can’t take the school out of the girl.
On this first day of Autumn, I am grateful that of all aptitudes, being satisfied with what you’ve got is a talent you can practice. And I’m proof that with that practice, you can improve.
One of my greatest achievements? I’m also grateful to be able to give my children the luxury and freedom to make and reap their own harvests unfettered by nagging comparisons. It is one of the best things about not having them in school.
Tell us about a talent you’d love to have… but don’t.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us TALENT.