Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Some Things Must Be Learned On One's Own

In first grade, I was quite the athlete.  Mr. Thomas emptied a bag of soccer balls and I maneuvered around my classmates nimbly.  I dribbled up and down the court.  I weaved in an out of the orange triangles without losing step.  I could feel the pride wash over my shoulders as the other students stared on admiringly.

At one point, Mr. Thomas praised my performance and bayed the other children to come watch.  I was a star.  For a few days at least.  But eventually all the first graders combined for gym class, and I quickly faded into the background.  There was Jimmy, his father was once a professional player and he had obviously inherited skills.   Leslie was surprisingly fast and agile for a girl. 

The truth was that I was good, not great.  It was the first in a series of heartbreaking realizations.  I wasn't the fastest, strongest, or even the smartest.  In fact, I seemed to hide in a cloud of mediocrity for so many years.  It wasn't for a lack of trying.  I once spent a whole summer training for a basketball squad to be cut in the first round of tryouts.

It was only years later, that I realized that the painful fits and starts of childhood were the building blocks of becoming a successful adult.  It was in failure that I found the most sound master.

I try to remember this as I watch my children struggle to leap over the hurdles of youth.  I know that each flubbed performance or sub par grade stings them much more than I.  Yet, I struggle, like most parents on when to intervene.  How does one know when to rip the bandage off quickly or to peel slowly and feel the burn?  I survived and became stronger.  Will they?

In some ways doctoring resembles parenting.  My patients are far from children, but the casual similarity remains.  I have the benefit of experience to guide them through situations they are unequipped to manage on their own.

Strangely enough, I still question when to intervene.

Some things have to be learned on one's own.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Without failures there would not be any hero's. Here is a quote that sum's it up. I tell this one to my grandchildren when they have tried so hard and yet failed. In fact the poster of this is hanging on the door of my grandsons bedroom.

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed!

Michael Jordan"