When I was a wee tyke, I had trouble with my Ss in English and my Rs in Spanish. Having gone to elementary school in California, I was lucky enough to—when I was sent to speech therapy—have had a bilingual speech therapist.
I still remember one assignment: I had to color in all of the “S” words while simultaneously pronouncing them in a succinct yet soulful sentence. “The seesaw moves back and forth”. “The slide is slippery”. “Sam has to stop for supper”.
I never did turn that assignment in. Maybe it’s not too late?
I’m lucky to say that after a few really riveting years of repeating Ss and Rs ad infinitum, I was stable enough to stop speech therapy and resume my life as a rambunctious lad.
Now, for a child, learning how to adjust the way one speaks to properly pronounce a sound is not easy. The reason I never turned in that assignment is because I just didn’t want to do it. I mean, jeez, I WAS IN THE THIRD GRADE! And there I was. Saying things again and again and again.
Nobody ever said learning was easy.
Fewer said it was glamorous.
But everyone agrees it’s helpful.
So here’s the deal: right now in our lives there’s something—be it a class or a job or a person or a two-ton marshmallow monster or any combination thereof—that has been providing us with more than our daily helping of hell. Something that, try as we might, we seem incapable of defeating. Stop.
We know that we know more than we think. Over the course of human history, there’ve been scores of millions of people who snatched victory from the jet-puffed jaws of defeat: the Americans in the 1700s, the British in the 1940s, the Ghostbusters in the 1990s all faced utter defeat at the hands of their rivals yet persisted.
But to do that, we have to be willing to enter a sticky situation and get our hands dirty. Yes, we’re going to have to slog through a rather horrid ordeal to emerge from the wreckage a stronger and better person but we’re going to do it anyway because it’s the human spirit!
Listen, the temptation to give up is easy. But like that homework that I gave up on and never turned in, deciding to surrender to a situation leaves us with nothing but regret.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to fish out that assignment and mail it to my old school. Most-likely retired speech therapist, prepare to grade the ultimate late assignment!…providing that I can find it…