Monday, March 24, 2008

an A for effort

The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson. ~Tom Bodett

we are students for much of our life. the pop quizzes and essay exams of our school days get replaced by the challenges of life. but in life there is no scantron, there is no study guide, there is no multiple choice. you have long since graduated and yet tests find their way to your metaphorical desk and you tap your head with your #2 pencil and you rack your brain for the right answer. you press your pencil to the paper and you make a tight little circle filling in the hole completely or perhaps sloppily straying outside of the lines or maybe you leave too much of it undone--the machine unable to register an answer at all. do you get a C+ or an A for effort? is this a pass/fail situation?

there is no right answer. is there a right answer?

what does it mean when it's the same test over and over again? are you stuck in the same grade until you pass? a perpetual freshman in the test of life. benjamin franklin said "I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong." will we always have 100 tries? is the only way to get it right to eliminate all the ways to get it wrong? there are books upon books written on all the subjects. you can cram all night, but in the morning, the light startles your squinting eyes, and you realize how very little you know. you comb your hair. you sling your bag over your shoulder. you head out ready for today's lesson. you are a good student not because you know all the answers, but because you are willing to learn.

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