Thursday, November 15, 2012

Things we're good at

Here's to noticing the little good things too.

This is random, but I was thinking about it tonight. And I think it's true.

I think everybody is good at a lot of different things, but we usually only get recognition for a few of the those things.

Right? I think in general we get categorized by other people as being good at that one thing. She sews. She cooks. She's a nurse. He's a doctor. He's really funny. She's really smart. And it makes sense that we kind of memorize people that way, I guess, but I also think there's a lot of value in knowing the talents--big and small--that we and others posses which so often go unrecognized.

A few weeks ago we went to drop something off at the medicaid office (Yeah, we're poor college students) and while we were there some nice people from United Way were offering free kindergarten readiness testing for kids ages 2-4. We had time to kill while we were waiting, so I went over to check it out. The "testing" basically consisted of a set of questions about your child which you answered. Then the ladies in the booth evaluated the answers and told you what your kid should work on to be ready for kindergarten in X amount of years.

But the funny thing about the "test" questions were that hardly any of them had to do with scholastic things. It didn't say, "Can she read?" or "How high can she count?" or "Does she hold her pencil correctly when she writes?" They were just questions about where she was at developmentally, not unlike the questions you sometimes fill out for your child at the pediatrician. They were questions about how far she could jump and how long she could stand on one foot and if she could repeat numbers we said to her and so on and so forth. We also got a peek at the tests they give to the 3 1/2 and 4 year-olds and I can tell you the questions didn't get much more focused on schoolwork in those sets than they did in the 3 year-old set we got.

Now, I admit, to some degree I was a little disappointed when I saw the questions. I felt like saying, "She's so advanced, but that doesn't even show on this test! She's starting to read! She can count to 30! She's writing by herself! And all you want to know is how long she can stand on one foot?" But then, as I filled out each question, I realized that, actually, I'm really proud of her being able to stand on one foot. And kick a ball. And climb and run and jump and play and remember things we tell her. Actually, those are super valuable skills. And then I got to thinking, "Man, what if I got credit for all of the little menial things I can do? That would be awesome!"

So I decided to jot down a quick list of things I'm good at, but will probably never get much (if any) recognition for. Here it is:

I am good at the following things:

  • getting rid of junk
  • organizing our home
  • thrift store shopping
  • dressing Olivia in cute outfits
  • being the chill mom and letting Olivia dress herself
  • drinking a lot of water
  • cleaning up all the tiny little bits of thread and fabric left over from my sewing projects
  • ironing sewing projects
  • sewing pajama bottoms for Olivia
  • making chocolate chip cookies
  • getting all of my thick, crazy hair into a ponytail or messy bun
  • going on long walks
  • selecting good fruit and veggies from the grocery store
  • not getting lost
  • supporting others in doing their own thing even when it's not my thing
  • talking to people
  • making bran muffins
  • folding laundry

Man, reading through that list makes me feel awesome. I hope you go and write your own list now because, as it turns out, it's super uplifting and relieving to think of things you're good at. And don't you dare follow it up with a "these are things I need to work on" list. That is totally against the rules. Because, if you're anything like me, you have that list playing through your mind like a sort of constant background music all day every day. And, man, that gets exhausting. I've been tired lately from other stuff, real work stuff, and I am here to say that life is exhausting enough without the help of a "things I'm bad at" list playing through your mind.

Anyway, here's to dwelling on the things we do well. And noticing and celebrating those things in all the people we come in contact with in our lives. Be a noticer of the excellent dish washers, the good hair doer upers, the super smileys, the "you always do  (insert menial task here)  so well"-ers. I'm so guilty of noticing things that need to be fixed and changed and made better. And in some areas of life, that's really good and important. But, ya know, in general, let's celebrate the good, the little things. In ourselves and all around us.


Jennifer said...

This is totally awesome!

Bryan Lewis said...

Man, you really are so good at not getting lost. I'm am terrible at that one.

And you are really good about not leaving hair in your brush. I am always super impressed every time I see it.

Kristie said...

Wish you could come over and help me organize my house and get rid of the junk. I am terrible at that.
But I like to think I am pretty good at making meals for my family on no money.
Thanks for the reminder!

Lisa Lou said...

I'm with Kristie. One thing I'm super good at is transforming humble beans and oats into amazing meals and treats.