It was quite a rough start for me academically. Even as a young girl of 8 years, I wondered if I was simply dumb and needed help beyond what I was getting (trust me, I was getting the help). Before I was taught, I was ready to forget. Or what possible explanation could be given about my swift ability to retain absolutely nothing my teachers taught me in school? It was pretty easy for me to think there had to be some forces playing tricks on me.
My daddy being a teacher, took it upon himself to assist me with my basic subjects whenever I got home from the private primary school I attended. My sister and brother helped as well sometimes whenever daddy was not available. Mummy was not left out; she had a way of spoiling my T.V moments with ‘Go and read your book!’ It seemed as if the whole family was on my case. It was usually a frustrating period for them as they had to employ the use of “repetition” which in my case, was not to emphasize but to simply start over. Each time a concept was taught and repeated, it sounded new—just like it was being mentioned for the very first time.
At first, my parents thought I was simply lazy or unserious with my studies. Daddy sometimes flogged me in anger thinking that it was going to bring about a positive result. Some other times, he pitied my thin and fragile-looking body and let me be. After a while, he realized that I was just a slow learner. He began to teach me at a slower pace. Gradually, I began to make progress. My favourite subject was the English Language (it runs in the family). The opposite could be said for Mathematics which I had a huge phobia about (I still do).
In school, I noticed that though I was not performing excellently, my grades weren’t too poor. My position in class was usually a bit above average. The major challenge I had was that my siblings were outstanding students. My parents soon had an understanding that I was unique so they began to complement my effort. The comparison between my siblings and I did not come from them but from the voice in my head that constantly told me I was no match.
Many others who knew me at school didn’t believe anything was wrong, but I had a different perspective. Every time I took a test or an exam, I always felt uneasy after leaving the room. I often bemoaned how many questions I didn’t even bother to try while my coworkers congregated to talk about how they were able to perfectly answer their exam questions. I typically went through my notes and textbooks when I got home. I carefully compared the notes’ responses to the ones I’d made while taking the test. Typically, I assumed the worse. To my astonishment, I consistently performed better than those who insisted they had written the right answers each time the results were made public.
Studying this pattern led me to feel that passing my examinations wasn’t as challenging as I had thought. The stories I told about exams and tests to my pals quickly lost their credibility. I soon came to believe that everyone learns differently and at varying rates. I believe that each person stands out because of their own niche and that this distinctiveness must typically be identified and capitalized upon. In the past, I used to focus on my shortcomings and evaluate my performance in comparison to other people’s… How I was mistaken!
As I gained a better knowledge of my circumstances, I started to feel more confident. Knowing I was competent in a field and my teachers were interested in my work encouraged me to begin to believe I could fit in at school after all. It took some time, but eventually, the voice in my head that constantly reminded me of how inadequate I was, was muted.
I discovered that having faith in someone can do a lot to bring out the best in them. I discovered that it’s crucial to encourage individuals without demotivating them. The giant in people can emerge out when their efforts are recognized and appreciated, as I discovered when I received a prize for being the top student in one of my classes at school.
More recently, I’ve become aware that people might not always appreciate my efforts for a variety of reasons, one of which is the propensity to downplay a person’s positive traits while highlighting their negative ones. I now understand that waiting around for people to commend me may take forever! The so-called praises that may be given may even be lies and deceit. In other words, self-assurance must originate from within.
Do you want to know where my current confidence came from and if I still have it?
Now, I see myself the way God sees me–Royalty!
Life is a privilege and so is being able to live it. Sometimes I become overwhelmed by the reality of being privileged. I do not have it all straightened out and perfect however, I’ve got a lot to make me want to push, press on, and keep hope alive. Besides, does my life manual not affirm that ‘to everything, there is a season?’ It’s all a matter of time!