As part of the Personal Best writing, the journaling group decided to write about Personal Gifts, perhaps listing liabilities that turned to assets.
A computer friend, Missy, shared a quote. “Writing: all you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” The typewriter dates the author, but the concept is as fresh as our tech world. Precious life does find a way to flow through the fingers.
When we think a concept, we tend to go round about the core, usually coming back to the same center. Writing helps us make linear progress, finding conclusions before moving to new ideas.
As usual, post-its, scraps, edges of newspaper and back of grocery lists needed to be pulled together as I moved from thinking, to scribbling, to writing–to fully opening that vein.
As a teacher, I shuttered when red pencils were forbidden as self-esteem crushers, when the worst of work was to be praised for something or other, when excellence took second seat to protecting self-image. Not only was that trend over-board, it came close to sinking the aim of education. All this is to say that I don’t like or believe in a victory dance or even a high-five for minimal expectations.
Balancing Personal Gifts and minimal expectations is risky. I know that I am polite in most situations, a minimal expectation. I know that I am honest except when honesty would hurt and silence covers the situation nicely. I don’t overtly lie, steal and rarely covet…as in neighbor’s spouse or goods. Again, minimal.
Setting goals and staying with the program is part of my self, taught and reinforced by parents, community, incredible elementary, high school and college teachers. Parenting and teaching to the best of my known standards was minimal. I expected no less.
The past couple of years have shown a new self, one that is able to respect and honor the parts of my life long religion while freely speaking to the aspects that are not only short-sighted (failure to fully honor the women of the church), authoritarian (male dominated and crushing to Jesus philosophy) and even evil (pedophilia, abuse and cover-ups). Late coming to my personal gifts, but no less appreciated even if I now see this as minimal expectation.
On the back of a grocery list, I had written, “My best…my family, my friends, my contacts, my life, my everything.” Has there ever been a better summary of Personal Gifts?