Just a couple of days ago, my daughter was cleaning out a closet and found a large brown folder containing items from my early childhood. There were many pictures, certificates, and several report cards. My second grade report card stood out as one that demonstrated myself as a student.
Apparently, I had difficulty with most subjects earning primarily C’s and a scattering of B’s and D’s. My teacher wrote, “Cora has worked hard to improve her work. I am so proud of her. She has excellent study habits, and tries real hard to do her best.” Even though I struggled in school, I always knew in the back of mind that I would attend college.
I think it was when I transferred my junior year of college to East Carolina that I finally figured out how to actually study in a manner that produced high grades. I had to work really hard and stay focused on my goal of graduating. I remember having to give up a lot of parties and trips with my future husband in order to maintain a strong GPA. It was these habits that I developed during this time that allowed me to pursue a master’s degree in Special Education.
Because of my slow start and strong finish, I feel that God has given me the right attributes to work with students with special needs. Going through my own struggles, I could relate to the students that I worked with and provide a nurturing environment. There were many students with different types of disabilities and hardships that came into my classroom. Even so, I gave them a place where they could encounter a sense of accomplishment and experience academic success.
I have come to believe that by working hard and never giving up, God will direct us towards the Promised Land that He has chosen for us. This may not mean a life defined by prosperity but instead a land that meets our needs and builds our character. As I reflect on my own journey, I have to say that I am grateful that school didn’t come easily. If it had, I may have missed the gift of understanding how God wants us to rely on him and not on ourselves.
We are all on our own unique journey and if we can slow down and reflect on the past, present, and our creator, we can experience the fullness of life.