Filed under: life-o-jen
Many problems in school begin with a low self-concept. Believing you are a winner sets the stage for a lifetime of achievement.
As a school counselor for many years, I have found that many problems of youth spring from a poor self-concept. Often this low self-image becomes for the student a self-fulfilling prophecy. By failing to believe in his own ability and worthiness, the student expects to accomplish little and, as a result, exerts little effort. Assignments are not completed, or they are hastily and carelessly done. How we as educators wish that all students could face life and learning with the outlook of little Kelly:
Each of our children enriched us in ways we never dreamed of. Through her eyes, Kelly had us see the sheer joy and thrill of being alive. As long as we have known her, every day has been for her like the Fourth of July. Every morning she would wake up, sparkling with excitement, waiting for the parades to begin. Perhaps the most thrilling of her childhood moments came when she was four. And it came with one of her typical, astounding insights. NOVA was going to telecast a remarkable special program called “The Miracle of Birth.” Through color micro-photography the program was to take the audience through an actual conception experience and the following stages of pregnancy to the birth of a child. The show seemed such an extraordinary opportunity that we invited the children to stay up for it at nine o’clock. Jen was six, Sean was nine, and Kathleen was ten. It would be the early-bird version of the birds and the bees. They lined up on their stomachs in a row in front of the television, ready to be delighted with anything as long as it meant beating the sandman. And an unforgettable experience for us began.With a little introduction by us and a beautiful, simple introduction by the narrator, the show began. The camera focused on the woman’s egg, suspended like a moon in her body awaiting the appearance of the stars. And appear they did, in a flood of sperm–hundreds of thousands of microscopic spermatozoa, like miniature pollywogs, off to the races. The narrator explained that the drive of each spermatozoon, carrying within itself the genetic package of centuries of matings, was to get to the egg first and penetrate it. Once one did, the egg’s shell would harden and admit no others. Four pairs of wide young eyes were riveted to the screen.
The kids were at a race and they began to pick favorites. We were watching racers with a great range of instinctual power and talent. Some were swimming lazily in circles, others sideways, and a few others seemed to be heading back to the starting gate. These made it clear that it was their first day out. For the sake of all the generations to come, it was just as well that none of them would make it. But many others were going hell-bent for the egg. They were the ones the kids had their money on and were cheering on to victory. Then suddenly five or six of them reached the egg and began head-butting it for entry. A shell spot softened and one of them was in. The shell hardened immediately and the remaining little pollywogs butted in vain. Immediately cells started multiplying geometrically and they were on their way to a baby. The film continued through all the miraculous stages of the pregnancy to the birth of a beautiful child nine months later. We didn’t talk too much about what we had seen, but we all knew that we had just seen a very special show.
Early the following morning as I was preparing breakfast, I heard little feet racing down the stairs and Kelly burst into the kitchen. Her eyes were on fire and she was sputtering to start a sentence. Then it came:
Dad…you know what happened last night? Yes, I do, I said. Did that happen to me? Yes, I said, it did. WOW!!! Did it happen to you? Yes, I said, it did. W -O-O-O-W!!! Did it happen to Mommy? Yes, I said. It did. WOW!!! And did it happen to Kathleen and Sean, and Jen? Yes, I said. It did.
She was beside herself with excitement. She grabbed my hand in her two and said, “Do you know what that means, Dad? Do you know what that means? It means that WE’RE ALL WINNERS!!!” *
*Excerpted from A BOY FROM LAWRENCE: The Collected Writings of Eugene F. Connolly (2006), edited by Sally A. Connolly ________________________________________________________
About the Author
Sally A. Connolly, a retired school counselor, is editor of A BOY FROM LAWRENCE: The Collected Writings of Eugene F. Connolly. Midwest Book Review says this verbal scrapbook of a teacher’s spiritual journey is “filled with such treasures. It is recommended for those in need of comfort, illumination, redirection, grace, or prayer.” For more information, go to http://www.freewebs.com/aboyfromlawrence.
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