Sun Nov 22, 2015
So, a very good friend of mine, who is an adjunct UT prof and touring educator, was talking to my 6 year old son about math. She was asking him questions to watch his thought process, and as he was struggling with one of them, she said something like, “do you know that when you’re struggling with something, when it’s hard and you have to work at it, that your brain is growing? It’s actually growing! So, good job! Your brain just grew!”
And I asked, “is that just for growing kids? Or is that true for adults, too?”
And she said it’s true for everyone.
And I thought back to that halfway point in my first semester a little over a year ago, when I hit a wall and felt like I couldn’t cram one. more. piece. of information into my head. It wouldn’t fit. It was weird, and a bit surreal because that is exactly, specifically how it felt. So I walked away for awhile, because I really had no choice, and I didn’t study new stuff for several days. When I started up again, all was well.
I haven’t hit a wall like that since, but I’ve approached one a couple times. Not nearly as extreme. However, I’ve noticed that with this insane decision to go to college, and the amount of studying and learning about something COMPLETELY new that I’ve done, I have noticed that my brain has changed. It’s like a door has opened and I really feel like my brain power is greater now than it was before. I can feel that it’s in shape, like I’m a trained runner, or something. Like if you throw something new at me, I’ll catch it quicker than I would have before.
Now, I’m still human, and there’s only so much I can do, and I forget things now that I never forgot before, like where in the world that recipe is, or what appointment which kid has next and stuff, but still. Something has changed, and on occasion, I can feel it change again. I had noticed before, but I hadn’t put a name to it, or defined it.
My brain is growing.
Blood, sweat and tears.
Just like it always is when we grow.
Just like learning the guitar and feeling like the worst, 6 thumbed moron that ever took a year and a half to get to a stupid Bm without having to pause mid song to set it up.
And all those other things I’ve done and tried that were hard and didn’t come natural to me that I worked, and worked, and worked at until I got to a level of competence I was comfortable with.
Brains are awesome.
I was reminded recently about that misquoted poem in Akeela and the Bee-
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”