July 21, 2012

Persistence & Determination

This, is a tale of persistence. It begins long ago with a quote from Calvin Coolidge shared by my beloved Uncle Jimmie.

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."


Interestingly, my daughter was born with more than a small dose of persistence. Somewhere during her first couple of years, my Dear and I noted how, when fixed on an idea or desire, our little gal would get what she was after. The first real notice of this was when sitting in my lap at the dinner table, she grabbed for and got the glass of water I held and drank from the glass. Way before I expected this. We watched it time after time with reaching, crawling, standing, walking, climbing, etc. And oh yes, it was a key factor in the two and three years. At some point we laughed that she was born in two and a half hours (!) because she wanted to be born. Now. With this persistence comes a strong will. So you can imagine, that occasionally we're challenged, as we all are and should be as parents, to channel this trait in the right direction. (Far too often, I've found myself a wall rather than a guide to a better pathway. But, I'm growing too.)

Well, God blesses us with maturity, doesn't He? Our gal, the determined one, woke up somewhere around the end of winter and took on math like it was a hill to be climbed. She practiced homework with laser focus. When she found a snag, she asked for a tutor. Her grades went directly to A's or 100% almost all the time and she found herself the only one in class who got every answer correct on the final test of the year. Right around May she started telling me about a pre-Algebra class at the local all girls Catholic high school. About a week after she first told me, she handed me a stack of paper and asked that I sign her up.

Really? Summer school? What about this week away at camp and that week driving to visit friends? What about all the sports camps at school in June and July? Summer school? In uniforms? Doing math?

Well, this girl saw that she could take pre-Algebra in four weeks and move up to Algebra where she wants to be. So she did it. She got up every morning at 6:30. Put on her school uniform, went to class, did her homework, studied the lessons and pulled the highest grade in the class. On the last day, she took her own school's math placement test and was offered that chair in Algebra.

There's a lesson here for me (and maybe for all of us). Something worth attaining is worth working for. I think about the adage that a job worth doing is worth doing well, and other similar thoughts. But the thing I think about most here (right after I well up with happiness and some mommie-pride) is what my Uncle Jim shared over and over:

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. 
He would know. He set the goal to retire at 40 and got there at 41. 

Wait, maybe all this should be about genetics.

Happy Math my sweet girl! We couldn't be happier for you.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Very proud of that girly.

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