Weaknesses or Strengths: Where Should I Direct My Attention?

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If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably picked up on something about me:

I am a terrible speller.

I can assure you it’s not for lack of trying. 

I clearly remember trying at least six different spelling programs as a child, as my poor mother struggled to find a method that would work. In every Spelling Bee I participated in, I was always the first or second one out. My younger sister could easily out spell me, and it hurt my pride! 

I could study a list of words for a week straight and still fail the test. I remember bawling my eyes out on several occasions because the order of letters would not stick in my memory, and as a perfectionist, few things pained me more than seeing  “36%” in red ink on the top corner of my page.   

Eventually, even after seeking third-party help from a classical umbrella school, I resigned myself to the fact that this was probably an area I would never be proficient in. 

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about changing our homeschool rhythm. I mentioned the word “rhythm” often in that blog, and I typed it incorrectly every single time. I have praised the Lord for spell check on many occasions, as it enabled me to get through high school, post-secondary school, and still aids me almost every day.

Why am I sharing this? 

I believe spelling and grammar are important skills.

These things give a person credibility, and help others understand what they are trying to communicate, so I make every effort to teach them to our children with the help of readily available tools.

I also believe spelling is a gift.

Everyone can learn how to spell to some degree, but it does not come naturally to all. (Thankfully, my husband is an excellent speller, and more than willing to help out in areas I struggle with.)

I will be forever grateful that the love I have for the written word was never taken from me by my inability to spell.

If I had been discouraged from writing because my mother had determined I needed to learn how to spell correctly before I moved forward, I would have missed out on the gift of expression that has impacted my entire life.

Somewhere, I have a case of floppy discs filled with dozens of stories I wrote as a young girl that would provide no shortage of laughter if they were ever discovered! They are guaranteed to be rife with typos, but writing, as a child, and now with several children of  my own, was both my escape and my joy. 

It was how I could best communicate with others and express how I felt. It enabled me to sort through my own ideas, and reason with people I disagreed with. If I poured my heart out to a parent, it was through a note left under their pillow. If I was overwhelmed by big feelings, I would hash them out in a journal to clear my head. For fun, I would lose myself by writing stories that would allow me to experience life as other people in different places. 

Today, writing supplements our family income through this blog, connects me with like-minded Mamas across the globe, and is still my preferred method of communication, even though my ability to spell has hardly improved. 

It is easy to get caught up and stressed out by the areas of academic weakness I notice in our own kids. These are things we work on, but I pray God gives me the grace to know when I need to back off. 

Overcoming areas of weakness will naturally require more time and effort. Doing hard things is good for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is preparation for real life – a sequence of one challenge after another. 

But, may I not be found guilty of squashing their natural, God-given bent because I got too dogmatic about the less important details. They don’t have to be good at everything (very few people are). I do not want to keep them from pursing their strength because all my attention was directed to a weak spot that skewed the perception they had of their own ability.  

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