Monday, November 22, 2010

If At First....

I bet you can all finish that phrase, can't you. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." I used to hate that saying. It meant that I didn't get things right the first time. And I hate being wrong.

But life is full of these little lessons, pointing out to us over and over again that we can't do everything perfectly all of the time. There will be ups and downs, good days and bad, peace and struggles.
Think about this while I share a little experience.

My oldest daughter is very bright. She got her math brain from her equally brilliant father. So as a 9th grader, she is taking Algebra 2. She's had this teacher before, and didn't like her. The teacher's "teaching style" and my daughter's "learning style" don't mesh. But since this is the math track my daughter's on, she has to take this class from this teacher this year.

She came into me yesterday evening, frustrated beyond belief. She'd been sick last week and had missed one day of class, which meant that she was simply handed the missing assignment and expected to catch up. But she didn't understand what they were covering because of this miscommunication between styles.

At first I didn't know how to help her. I have not done any serious math in YEARS. YEARS, PEOPLE! I was in a quandary because she was talking about wanting me to sign her out of class so she wouldn't have to take the test on Monday. I couldn't let her do that, but I didn't know how to help her. Eventually it dawned on me that there had to be something, somewhere on the Internet that could help explain things so my daughter could do her assignment. After a few misses, I found a site that explained how to solve and graph parabolas (yeah, I didn't know what they were, either) so well even I could do it now, if pressed. So now, even though it's after 2 am, I'm blogging while she finishes her assignment, because she was so excited about actually "getting" it, she wanted to get it done right away.

It was an epiphany for me. There are so many things in life that require perseverance. Anything worthwhile, in fact. Thinks of worth take work, dedication, and a willingness to go through the briars to get to the berry patch on the other side. But sometimes it takes an outside view to point us through the pokey bits.

So ask yourself this question: where in your life could you use a fresh perspective? Maybe have an outside person help you see where you can improve? Are you ready for a critique group, maybe? Or perhaps you just need your BFF to tell you the truth about your weight. It doesn't matter what part of life it's in, writing related or not. There's probably something you're procrastinating doing because you're stuck in the maze, and don't know which way to turn.

Find a new perspective, a fresh pair of eyes. We all need it, now and again.


  1. Perspective is a tricky little thing. Thanks for the "perspective" on perspective!

  2. Megan:
    I recommend looking at They have a bunch of freely available high school textbooks that are really well-done. I've found that for me, sometimes reading the information in another wording can help. If you're still stuck, ping me on the chat, and I *might* be able to help... I still remember most of my math classes, I think...

  3. Thanks, Erin. She was pretty confident today. Part of what she did was make up her own connections to the steps for solving them, and was still quoting the "story" she'd concocted as she got out of the car at school this morning. If we run into issues again, I'll definitely give you a ping. :)



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