More from Debbie Pierce
I was ten years old when I attended special reading classes. All these years later, I still remember how embarrassed I felt. I immediately labeled myself stupid. And with that label came shame. At the time, I didn’t understand that my comprehension problems were a result of my inability to stay focused. I was a daydreamer. The places I traveled to in my mind were far more interesting than the words written on the pages of my books. So when it came time to write a book report, I couldn’t write one. How could I write a report on something I read but didn’t retain. So I attended special reading classes. The students read aloud and the teacher engaged us in discussions. She asked us questions about the story, and instructed us to write down our impressions. I learned skills that to this day, I still use because I have a short attention span. My mind starts wandering if I don’t take notes and highlight passages in a book. But learning those skills, didn’t remove the label I attached to myself. For many years I considered myself too stupid to enroll in college. I carried memories of those special reading classes around in my head and allowed them to disable me.
Years later I was employed at a bank. I enjoyed learning about debits and credits and was adept at bookkeeping. One day, the Comptroller of the bank suggested I take some accounting courses. My immediate thoughts were, “Me, take a college course? I’m too stupid to do that.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the Comptroller saw something in me I couldn’t see myself. So, I enrolled in an evening Accounting 1 course at a local college. I got an A. Then I took Accounting 2, another A. I started taking business courses and worked my way up to a mid- level management position at the bank. But something was missing. The young girl in those special reading classes had a dream of working with animals. I never pursued those dreams because I thought I was too stupid.
I was in my mid-thirties when I decided to try. A junior college offered an Associate’s Degree in Animal Science. But the Admissions Counselor informed those courses were not available during night. I would have to attend classes during the day. I lived alone. How on earth would I support myself if I quit my management job at the bank? I got a job waitressing. I worked full-time nights, and went to school full-time during the day. Waitressing is hard work. So is taking 5 courses a semester. But I did it. And I graduated with honors. The day I received my degree was the day I finally removed my I’m stupid label. I started a pet care business and went back to college to get a Bachelor’s degree. Next year, I’m retiring.
I had mixed emotions when I sent today’s meditation to the Upper Room. To be honest, after I sent it, I was hoping it would get rejected. The old shame and embarrassment was paying me a visit. But God made me realize what I wrote could encourage other people. None of God’s children are stupid. Each of us is knit together for a special purpose.