From The Storyteller
December 25, 2017, Gift
The word “smart” has followed me all of my life. Some of the ways it has been used came out of an experience - “That was not smart.” Other times it was used to reference to my attitude - “Smart aleck.” Still on other occasions it was used in a question - “Wouldn’t it be smart to…?” As I was growing up, the one use that confused me the most was - “I bet that smarts.” I usually heard this when pain was involved and this just didn’t go with my youthful understand of “smart”.
My journey with the word “smart” rarely included someone personally identifying me as being “smart.” In my family I was always the one who had “potential.” This word was invariably used by my teachers. On many occasions my parents were told “Doug isn’t living up to his potential.” At the time I had no idea of what that meant. I still don’t know what that means.
Which leads me to how wonderfully “smart” my parents must have been.
The term “living up to my potential” was never used at home. The phrase I heard most often was “stay with it.” My sisters’ report cards were “A honor roll”, yet my C+ report cards were never compared to theirs. Just one high school example – I am an Eagle Scout because of “stay with it.” One adult example – My law school success in spite of ADHD and dyslexia happened because of “stay with it.”
My parents gave me the gift of “stay with it.” They were gone before I was “smart” enough to understand the importance of this gift and say thanks. They gave me the gift - I’m sure they know how I feel.
Moral – Sometimes a simple thank you is enough.