Notice and accentuate the positive

Grade of F

Grade of F


I sat in the L-shaped desk and focused on the test I just got back. The big red “F” stared back at me. Most of the problems were crossed out and marked in RED. My paper looked like it was bleeding. I wanted to take the poor test to the doctor to have it sutured up it was bleeding so much. As I flipped through the test I noticed a pattern. I begin looking at the other kids’ paper and found that the numbers I got RIGHT were the ones they lost the most points for and a majority of the kids got wrong. We begin going over the tests, and as usual my answers were because of bone head mistakes: negative signs turned into positive signs, carrying a number, or putting a decimal point in the wrong place so that 32.68 was 3.268. A major difference no doubt, but a very very simplistic mistake. When we got to the hardest 4, and the ones worth the most points  – the teacher stopped.

I raised my hand and asked in my voice changing squeaky/deep voice why we had skipped those. He explained they were too hard for anyone, and everyone got them wrong.

What?  Really?  I got the hardest problems right. Nobody else got these problems right. They were so hard that I could tell the teacher was concerned about them even being on the test. In fact, they were so hard he wasn’t even going to go over them. And I got them right. Me! The F paper, C student in math (it takes me a while to understand it), got the hardest questions right. Wow!  Look at me…I’m smart! I’m smarter than smart…I’m like adult smart. It turns out that I have a talent for theoretical, high functioning calculus and physics. Interesting enough, the ideas that are presented are less like math to me, and more like a research project. Through the years, I’ve sat with many math and physics professors expounding on the theories of quantum physics, molecular and sub molecular theory, number theory, and mathematical perplexities….all while I was supposed to be being tutored for Algebra.

Why is it that we focus on what we are missing, we are lacking, or the things we don’t have?  This is what we’ve been taught. We’re not all the same people, so we aren’t going to get everything that the “general education” system is going to teach us. In fact, we all have natural abilities and talents we may never have the opportunity to use and show because of the way “school” is set up.

Is it really surprising that we are always focused on what’s wrong with our life, our work, or any given situation? This is what we are taught in our society. Look at all that you do wrong, so you can work on that and become better. However, when you see a mountain in front of you…it’s hard to think you’re going to correct all of that with the teaspoon in your hand. We are being set up for depression and failure. We are being set up to constantly focus on what’s the problem, where do we lack, and how are we going to fix that. If we need to fix, that means we are broken. What if we aren’t broken at all…in fact, we just work differently.

There are two types of computer people: Mac/Apple and Windows/Microsoft. Each fo these operating systems are different and vastly different to use. Because one works differently, does that mean it’s broken? just works differently.

What if we begin in school marking all the problems we got right? What if we showed students all the things they CAN do? What if we spent the same amount of energy looking at all the things that are right and are good with our relationship, life, work, etc? Instead of thinking about how we are bored (lack of something to do), why don’t we focus on all the things we can do, all the opportunities we have. Even if you have no money…you have the ability to do amazing great things. One word – The national/City park system.

Imagine what the world would look like if we focused only on what’s right…what do you think the world would look like?


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