Who Am I?  Part 4

Until very recently, it seemed to me (and to others) that I was always in school studying something.  You could say that I was one of those “perpetual students”.  Now that I am more mature (i.e. I am past middle age and heading toward the next category), I am quite content to engage in the work the Lord has given to me to do and not to be too concerned about trying to reach one more academic achievement.

But for most of my earlier years of study, I was always pushing myself to get the highest possible grades.  I would not let myself be satisfied for anything less than an A if it were possible.  I don’t think that I felt any parental pressure to have to be such a high achiever.  And even though there were always one or two others at the top of the class to compete with, it was never done out of rivalry or spite.  It was simply fun to feel we were in a race that ultimately we all won (i.e. being A+ students).

In fact, I viewed school from the very beginning as something “fun” to do.  When I finished my homework assignment ahead of time in class, I often went up and asked the teacher for more homework.  Why?  Because it came to me easily and so it was always fun to find the right answers.

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One slightly embarrassing story comes from when I was in Grave Five.  Math back then, and through all the school years, was my favorite subject. The teacher would hand out new math problem sheets for us to work on in class, and then take home if we didn’t finish them.  Well, you can probably guess the first part.  I almost always finished the sheets before the end of the class session.

So what was a boy like me to do?  Well….from my perspective, I did the most logical thing, considering how much I loved to do math problems.  The next period after Math was Recess, and all the students and teachers would go out of the school and would be out on the playground area.  Yes, you guessed it.  As soon as the teacher lest the room, I went over to the cupboard with math supplies and helped myself to as many as I could.

Now stop for a minute.  I do not want you to think that there was some dark criminal side to me or that I was going to try to steal the answers before an exam.  Or that I would pass on the sheets I found and market them on the black market to other under achieving students.  No, my whole purpose in stealing the math sheets was simply because I loved math, and I felt the teacher had not given to me a challenge that was big enough for me.

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A similar situation arose for me in Grade Nine, the final year for our Junior High School (or Middle School).  Again, the situation happened in the Math Class.  We would be given homework which we could start in class and then finish at home.  But for me, I almost always finished the work in class and still had spare time on my hands.

It was at that point that I has some options as to what I could do about this situation.  And the teacher tried his best to help me grow in my skills in math.  He decided to let me go ahead and start into a Grade Ten Calculus and Trigonometry course book that I would basically teach myself in the subject.  And yet I still finished the material too fast and did what most young boys did back then.

I began to socialize with others (especially with the girls) and got into great conversations, told jokes back and forth that were quite funny, and generally was a grand distraction to the class. Finally, out of exasperation, the Math Teacher had to yell out in class as me, “Weatherhead!  I don’t care if you read a book in my class, or go to sleep on your desk.  I don’t care if you come early to class or late to class.  But I do care about the fact that you are constantly distracting my other students.  Do whatever you want, but just leave my students alone.”

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Well, Grade Ten was not must better for me, as I kept catching on so fast to all the materials of all my subjects.  The Social Studies teacher finally suggested that I don’t come to class, but instead go find the biggest library in Calgary and spend study time there for 10 weeks.  So once I got her permission on the topic, I went out to research it and came back in 10 weeks to do an oral report on what I had studied.  And that is what I did.  I holed up in the underground “Special Collection Archives” of the Calgary Main Library and made a report on the early explorers who opened up Canada, like the Voyageurs.   Pretty cool, eh?

Finally, in Grade Ten, I was recommended to attend an experimental school in Calgary.  It was an independent studies program.  You signed yourself into the school each morning, and then you decided which topic you wanted to study for the day and went to that dept and worked on course modules.  I really excelled there and sped through the material so that I did Grade Eleven & Twelve in less than a year and a half.

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In addition to all this, I made application for and was awarded four major scholarships to University.  Two small grants were from the Alberta Govt, one was from the University, and the biggest one was the four-year tuition grant from Texaco, Canada where my father was an accountant.  Only 5 of these scholarships go out each year, and I was presented with one of them.

So what do I think about all this, now 30 years later.  All I want to say is what Job said who put it this way, “Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?”  The obvious answer is: God!  He is the One who made each of us who we are today.  As for my part, I say to God, “Thank you God for giving to me this mind.  Now I give it back in service to you by doing this work of Bible Translation consultant checking.”

And so I end this article with a sense of humility and praise to God for how He made my brain.  I offer it back to Him now in my service to Him.  May He in all things be given the honor and the praise.

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