Monday, February 17, 2014

Everyone is a genius.

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid" - Einstein.

When I saw this quote on Raoul's post on it hit me like a ton of bricks because, as a teacher of small children and then as a teacher of older people, I have seen this to be true.

I knew a wonderful man who never thought he was smart because he was not a reader. He could read but it was not as easy as it is for me and others who love the written word. This man could play musical instruments, sing, persuade anyone or many to buy his products, interpret instructions on how to use any electronic device, figure out complex situations that would make me throw up my hands and say "enough."

He could light up a room just by walking into it and had the quickest wit of anyone I know. He had all that going for him, but somewhere along his life's road, he was told or made to believe that he wasn't intelligent enough - not smart enough- and he lived with that all his life. None of his accomplishments made up for the fact that he was not a "reader" and he thought that someone like me, a person who reads everything, including labels on the toilet tissue if that is all that is available, was much smarter than he. I knew the truth, but could not convince him.

We don't expect a fish to climb a tree. We shouldn't expect all of our children to become scientists, to lead the free world, to fly to the moon, because that was not what they were meant to do.  If our daughters become wonderful mothers or have the ability to care for their elders, and don't bring in a paycheck each month, we should not judge them as being any less than those girls who work toward leading a major corporation or becoming a doctor.

One of the most important and responsible people in my life has a masters degree but she  spends her time doing for others in her own quiet way. She is the rock her husband depends upon so that he can devote himself to his work. She is the friend who calls someone she knows is having a rough patch. She listens. She gives of her time. She is the one who is there for me when I feel like I can't go on because of physical failings or the need for someone who cares.

Some of us are meant to excel in academia and some of us are better at other things. Some are financial wizards and some have trouble balancing their bank account every month. Some like the field of medicine and the subjects required to do the job. But that doesn't mean that I, who never went to medical college, am stupid. It has taken age and wisdom for me to realize that most doctors know just what they were taught in school but have no sense of what I know and what I could teach them about an ageing body. My expertise has come from experience.

Everyone is a genius, according to Einstein. I think each of us must find the genius in ourselves, and then accept ourselves. Wouldn't that make for a happier world?


DJan said...

Beautifully stated, Glenda. Thank you for writing this important piece. It spoke directly to me.

Anonymous said...

Amen Sister! It's sad that even today when we should know better, schools put such a strong emphasis on grades and standardized tests.

Anonymous said...

This is so true. It just goes to show that we each have our own areas in which we excel.

Glenda Beall said...

Thanks DJan, Lee, and Abbie, for your comments.
I appreciate your compliment, DJan.
Lee, I think of High Meadows where Will received such a fine education without all the stress of grades, etc. All of us have something unique in ourselves that lends to our genius, I think.