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Friday, September 10, 2010

The More You Know, The Further You'll Go

When my kids would generalize about school and claim they were either good or bad at certain subjects I'd try to nip that attitude in the bud.
To generalize and say you're lousy at science just means you haven't found an area within that field that interests you.
One great perk about home schooling is that a student can take a topic that excites him and dive into it with all the time he needs to really explore and learn the information.
My children were not home schooled but we always had a library of information to look up the answer to whatever question they had. We always tried to do hands on projects on our own to make a subject more interesting and a real learning experience.

I remember when my daughter was little we ordered this "make your own perfume" kit for Christmas. Dabbling around with that set and learning about the molecular structure of these fragrances helped her realize that chemistry and biology can be much more interesting than the formulations and memory drills she had in the classroom. It wasn't too long before that interest blended with our passion for earth and life sciences and we learned the difference between natural and synthetic, and how our bodies interpret various chemical makeups. Suddenly, science became a fascinating rather than intimidating part of our lives.

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Making lotions and creams has always been a challenge. Most people have heard the saying "oil and water don't mix" in reference to relationships. Well, that is literally true as well; there is a knack to blending oil and water and keeping it that way. I've had creams and lotions look fine at the time of pouring only to observe later and realize that underneath the solid surface lies a little pool of water. With practice and more research as to what I was doing wrong, I think I've gotten over that hump of hit or miss.

I have several "oops" jars under my bathroom sink. They are fine to use, the beneficial properties are still there,, it's just a bit greasy. When I think back on all those creams I proudly gave to friends and family to try out as I was learning, I could either cringe or smile in good humor.

The point is that in order to succeed at anything, we need to be willing to fail and keep plugging away till we get it right. Perseverance is a term I use all the time with my children as they try to keep their heads above water with every challenge that they encounter in growing up. One of our favorite musical groups, The Mighty Manatees, has a line in a song "Don't go straight, Go forward". There is a lot of wisdom in those words. Anything worthwhile usually doesn't come easy.

Remember when we were still in school and wondered where in the world we'll ever use the stuff we struggled to learn? We all have what it takes to succeed. The key is to get out of your own way. Our fear of failure and insecurities need to stand aside so we can fine tune those God-given skills that were there all along.

You never know, you may be pleasantly surprised one day.