I’ve come to the conclusion my children were switched out after birth. Not that I want to make light of such a scenario just how else to explain the munchkins bringing home all A’s on their report cards? Don’t get me wrong, their report cards have never been a source of complaint, but usually there’s a stickler of a B in there, somewhere. Not the case this last round and I admit to being shocked. I never brought home a similar grade card when I was their age!
In fact, the girls’ report cards arrived just as I began round 5,678,452 of spring cleaning and stumbled across my old school memory book. The one my mother insistently filled with information such as height and weight, friends new and old, and report cards from kindergarten to high school. I pulled out the latter respective of the munchkins’ current years, fourth and sixth grade, for comparison, which resulted in my decision they were switched out at birth or, more likely, replaced with aliens.
Further perusal showcased my initial assumption — no year of straight A’s for moi — but that was the funny thing about yours truly, I was one of those kids who believed if you weren’t born with an ability, you’d never have it. In other words, if good grades did not come easily I surmised I was incapable and that would never change. Those with stellar report cards, effortless athletic ability, ease with making friends, and particularly the friend who could play the piano by ear (Maddening!) must be exceedingly wise and blessed, I thought. I never considered these seeming gifts from above may have something to do with — oh, I don’t know — study, practice or tutors.
A combination of all the above. Minus the play-by-ear, of course.
Why? I’ve no idea but it was a persistent state of mind that followed me for years, then something changed. Perhaps it was the endless notations to the munchkins that if they simply put their mind to it, they could do anything? I couldn’t really preach study, practice makes perfect, and tenacity to my girls if I wasn’t emulating those merits, too. Or maybe I realized the detriment of believing we haven’t the ability to change — when we do.
I’ve told this story before but it begs being told again. How a friend turned to me as we entered a large dining hall during a weekend conference to state how terrible she was with people. She assumed they took one look at her and dismissed her with a sniff. Only for a short time later to have people wrapped around her finger, any number of strangers made into new friends — I have never been able to figure out this dichotomous self view. Yet, how many of us hold assumptions about who we are, what we are capable of, that we can never change?
This habitual way of thinking we can’t change is even transposed onto others. We refuse to see the happy, go lucky individual on a bad day. We don’t want to accept their being sad, angry or depressed. Which is really unfair to that individual — they have every right to be sad, angry or depressed. Or we believe someone hasn’t the ability to lead when we haven’t given them the chance to lead.
Thing is, we have every ability to surprise ourselves, to change, as does anyone else. The wallflower can be the life of a party, the seemingly non-leader the best leader a company or organization has ever had … a bad primary student can go on to find success as a college student. Yes, wonders never cease. Even for those ever thankful the grading system back in their early school days stopped at the letter F. Even if they are left to wonder if their children are from Mars.
Hey, it’s either aliens or I have to believe those stellar marks came from their father and believing that would be just plain weird.
Bethany J. Royer is the mother of two munchkins and has a serious case of psychology student senior-itis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.