Apr 19 2016

Who’s Really Smart? – by LeAnn Caseria

Published by at 11:23 pm under Blog Contributors,Open Chat Night

Blog topic written by LeAnn Caseria

I took one of those online tests….this one was “what level of education do you have?  Let us guess.”  Then by a series of questions, it was supposed to know how far you’d gone in school.   I was still feeling a bit sheepish about a spelling test that I’d bombed last week, but I had time, so I took the test and it guessed that I had a “PhD”!!! No way, I wish… I’m not even close to that in schooling.

This “you must have a PhD” just made my day, which is kind of sad.  It’s just a silly test and most of the answers I knew because I work at a middle school.  Eighth grade Language Arts has helped me to brush up on my Shakespeare, and this year I’m helping some students in Science which reminded me about the “Theory of Relativity”.  I love my books but don’t think of myself as either smart or unintelligent….normally, it doesn’t matter to me.

So why was I feeling so darned pleased with myself that I scored well on this silly online test?  Pride?  Maybe…but really, it is because of my hearing loss.  The truth is that hearing loss makes me feel less intelligent.  Struggling to understand directions during a work meeting or at a recent computer training, (something I used to be a whiz at) I couldn’t understand the instructors directions.  When simple things are now challenging, it’s hard to feel “smart”.

Then there are the store clerks, like the guy at Fred Meyer, who raised his voice until he was almost shouting.  But the louder he got, the faster he talked, so the words all ran together.  Keeping the smile frozen on my face, I finally figured out what he was asking and tried to get out of the electronics dept. with as much dignity as I could muster. I know this type of thing happens to many of you and I feel like we’re all in a secret, but frustrating, club.  Many of your stories are similar, my personal favorite being when you couldn’t hear what the waiter was saying, so he kindly brought you a menu in Braille.

I tell my students that they should work hard to be the best “them” that they can be.  That we ALL have challenges and that the most important things are being kind, compassionate, considerate of others and NOT GIVING UP.  But when I see them struggle, because somethings not easy, they too, often think they’re not “smart”.   Reminding them of their strengths, I show them how much they’ve improved.  I see the questions in their eyes and wish I could inject them with the confidence that they desire.

Scott Christ writes that smart people are compassionate, imaginative, humble and appreciative (www.lifehack.org) “They view themselves as a small piece of a vast world and they know they have the ability to do great things.”  In his article, he lists ten things that smart people do NOT do.  My favorites were…”Smart people don’t focus on the negative.   They don’t let past stumbles dictate their present state.  Smart people don’t expect instant gratification and they don’t go a day without giving thanks.”

What do you do to build yourself up?  Does your hearing loss somedays leave you feeling a little “less” than you should?  For me, I try to spend time each week doing things I’m good at.   I’ve joined a gym, am exercising more regularly and have thanked the owners for keeping the captions on, so that the hearing impaired can understand.  Thanking people is important and I’m trying to be better at that. I read books that I enjoy and have taken up drawing, something that I hadn’t had much time for but want to get better at.  It’s not about being smart or not, it is really about being the best you.  Helping others and being happy with the life you’ve been given.  Hope so, that’s the way I’m trying to go.  I hope you believe in yourself and can be thankful.  Keep sharing your stories, they help all of us…and remember, only do the easy online tests!

Join us on Wednesday at this week’s Open Chat Night!

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