Unrealized Potential.

Max DePree writes that unrealized potential is a sin—a very serious sin. It is the tragedy of the unopened gift, and the impoverished receiver. I bumped into a friend as I revised for a mid-term this week and we started talking about school work etc etc. The subject turned to notes, and she told me that some children learn better with certain colours.

Some stumble over reading words on white paper, but become wordsmiths when the paper is red, or blue or green. She then pulled out her notes for her classes. I was amazed! It looked similar to this picture >>>> but on red paper (red is her colour of choice.) She said that is the way she learns and retains information.

I think it is important that make time to explore how we think, how we learn, and how we process information. Many brilliant kids are suffering because they don’t see the world in black and white but vivid technicolour rainbows.

The problem is as adults we are trained to swat like a buzzing fly, the parts of us that don’t fit the prefabricated mould of societal expectation.

For sure that is not always a negative thing, but what about the iridescent frescos that flash through our minds on occasion. What do we do with them? What gifting and potential do we have that has been tied, gagged, and straight jacketed for the sake of endorsement?

I thank God every time my eyes are opened to area’s of my life where that is the case, and I make a point to live my life in technicolor not black and white. Concerning your latent and unrealised potential, I will give the final word to Albert Schweitzer

“The tragedy of man is not that man dies, but what dies within man while he is alive.”

Este ou Aquele

I had wonderful Sabbath yesterday. I went to PMC and Dwight Nelson preached a very challenging message, you can check it our here:  “Of Perfume and Tears and Grumpy Old Men”.

Afterwards I went to a Brazilian potluck with my wife. We lined up, and right at the end of the table was some kind of pie, and I asked the server if I could have some. She said “este ou aquele.” I stared at her blankly. The she said in English  “You came to a Brazilian potluck so you must speak Portugese – “este ou aquele.” My wife eventually came to my rescue and explained what she was asking: (this or that?)

It reminded me of a trip I took to Cedar Point Theme park in the middle of a sweltering Ohio summer. We had been there for a few hours and my lips were sewn together from thirst, I was desperate for water.  I went to a concession stand to find water. The person who came to serve me was a didn’t look any older than 16. He reminded me of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, skinny, nonchalant and totally clueless. This was our conversation (my English accent, his American):

Me: “Can I have some warter please?”

Boy: “huh”

Me: “Can I have some warter please?”

Boy: “huh? you want what?”

Me: “Warter”

Boy: “You want fries?”

– at this point I am starting to wonder about this kids mental capacity. The lights are on but nobody is home…

Me: “No, I just want warter” ( desperate I turn our conversation into Pictionary and start signing for the kid)

Boy: “You want Coke?”

– Now I am thinking, good grief! Am I going to die of thirst in an American Theme park? Where is my American cousin when I need him?

Then the light bulb came on in my head, and I understood I had the answer to my own dilema. I thought to myself “this kid has probably never left Ohio and so my accent is throwing him off,  so let me meet him where he is.”

Me: ” Can I have some WARDER please”

Boy: “Ohh, warder, sure!”

I always think about this story with a smile, but it forever holds an important lesson for me. That is this – I sometimes miss opportunities in life because I don’t take the time to understand other people, but get frustrated that they don’t understand me.

In his famous prayer, St. Francis of Assisi asked God to help him to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication and opens the way for a plethora of opportunities!