Probably most everybody has been affected by this at least once. I have. And I’m talkin’ about what others have said about you. And how you’ve been negatively affected by it. I’m grateful, to my Dad, for giving me some priceless advice about that. And that was essentially this:
“Don’t let what others have said get stuck in your head.”
The reason we had that talk was because of my brain. Yeah, that’s right. In spite of you thinking I ain’t got one, I’ve actually got one. So there. And, evidently, teachers and the school system, way back in elementary school, thought it were a pretty good one.
When I moved from elementary to junior high (the correct name for it, not “middle school”), they inserted me into what they called “accelerated” classes. And that meant my classes would include subject matter beyond my “grade level.” For example, if the typical grade level taught mathematics, I’d also learn algebra. And when the grade level focused on algebra, I’d also learn accelerated algebra and geometry.
All that was true in other subjects, too.
And I loved the opportunity to learn all that extra stuff. To this day my brain can’t get enough. And the world is overflowing with new stuff to learn. But, back to the plot twist.
It wasn’t all buttercups and blueberries in my world of higher learning. Because, wouldn’t you know it, kids who weren’t in the accelerated classes found a way to poke fun of us kids in those classes. Sort of like any nerd movie or TV show you’ve seen. It’s weird how cruel kids can be. And it seems to come naturally.
So, the mocking and name calling had its intended effect. And I started to wish I wasn’t in those accelerated classes. Matter of fact, in the 7th grade, I decided to ignore my lessons and homework. And I let my grades decline. Nobody was gonna be able to make fun of this straight-A nerd anymore, by golly.
Then I got my first F.
Uh-oh. That’s when it hit me. I was gonna have to show my report card to my Dad. And I knew that nothing good could come from that. But, the day came, and I showed him the card. And, to my surprise, he didn’t get mad. He did something worse. At first.
Dad told me how disappointed he was in me. And that was like an iron rod to the heart. Because I always preferred when he was proud of me. Which, coincidentally, straight A’s on my report card always got me.
Then, he asked me, “Why? You’re so much smarter than this. Why did you let this happen?”
And I told him about how the other kids made fun of me for being a nerd. (Side note: I know it’s almost impossible for you to believe I was nerd, considering my incredibly handsome, suave persona. But, it’s a classic duckling/swan story.)
My Dad listened to my sob story. And that’s when he told me, “Don’t let what others have said about you determine your opinion of yourself.”
I won’t go into the details of the rest of his advice. The main point is, it took root. And I buckled down, read, and studied, and eventually got my straight A’s back.
And everyone lived happily ever after.
Yeah, no. Just because you choose to not let what others have said about you affect your opinion of yourself doesn’t mean life becomes a box of chocolates.
Because, it’s not just school kids who say the stupid stuff. Nope. Grownups do, too. More, actually. Especially if and when you do or have something they envy. And envy is so bad, it’s one of the characteristics of someone who isn’t going to Heaven.
So, here’s my advice to all you nerds…uh…naturally gifted people out there. Don’t waste a valuable moment of your time stressed about what somebody else says about you. Instead, focus on what God says about you. Because He knows you. And He knows what’s best for you. So He gets…
The Last Word
Keep a bolt of lightning in your brain
And a jar of honey in your heart.
Let love be the last word from your lips
Whether you’re together or apart.
Lightning is your passion over pain.
Honey is your holy hope within.
Send those feelings through your fingertips
And remember, always let love win.
© 2020 Tony Funderburk
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