2004-06-25 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Health & Harmony

DR. Nancy gahlesDR. Nancy gahles

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Magna Cum Laude literally means "with high honor". In academic circles, it is a title given for distinction in achieving a high grade point average. Magna Cum Laude is also defined as "having worth or merit or value; being honored or admirable."

As the school year comes to a close, examinations are taken to assess how much we have learned and how much we have retained. It is a very stressful time for students and parents alike. We are programmed to believe that the final grade we receive is a true measure of our accomplishments. Many schools do not have effort indicators, only final grades. When we judge our intrinsic value on the merits of a paper grade, we lose sight of who we are and how we become ourselves. Learning is a process. In the process is where the learning takes place. As we live and experience the" material" it takes a form which we can understand. Experience is the mother of education. Those methods and strategies and formulas that are put into practice in our lives give meaning and association to the next steps that we take built upon our successful use of the ones before. If the application of a learned principle doesn’t fit for us at that time, we create anew, we design another way, another solution to the problem. This is how new formulas and theories come about. The creation principal. Usually this happens when the chosen path didn’t work out. I think that it is very important to let our children know that the chosen path doesn’t always work out. That is a good thing. It allows for flexibility and change. When our intention is right the right thing will follow. It may not be what we expected but it will be the right thing. We need courage to see rightly, we need strength to choose a different direction and we need support to forge ahead on a new path. The two most important things that you can give your children are roots to grow in a fertile soil and wings to soar to the heights of their ability. If your child doesn’t perform well on standardized tests, refocus them to their other gifts which allow the natural expression of their talents. The final exam is one criteria that was made by man. It is fallible, it is not the criteria by which we hold our self esteem.

Ask your child, " Did you do the best that you could?" "What can you learn from this experience?" "Given your skills and talents, what would be the ideal way to assess your competence at the end of the year?" Design your own year end exam for your own benefit. The question I always ask at the end of the year is, "Was I kind to those I came in contact with?" "Did I help someone along the way?" "Did I respect other’s uniqueness?" These are the measurable qualities of a successful person. These are universal standards of competence. These are the valuable , learned virtues that set a person apart. It’s like Ivy League on another level. "Did I do the right thing?" Intention makes all the difference. As a man thinketh, so you are.

As the academic year comes to a close, life goes on. Take all the lessons you learned and sort through them. Make a "proud and sorry" list. Keep the ones that you were proud of. Use them to create success strategies now and in the future. Take the "sorries" on the list, review the actions, and resolve to be aware of that tendency now and in the future. Ask for wisdom and courage to choose the right action in it’s place. Right action begets right action. There is no failure. We always have the opportunity to learn from things that didn’t give us the desired result. It just means that you haven’t grasped the material yet. Ask for help. Look at the information from a different perspective. Learning is about engaging yourself in the process of becoming. It’s fun and it’s all to your benefit. Ultimately, you will have to design your own education. You will have to choose situations and people that contribute to your growth, your life education, if you will. Better to learn now how you do it best. School is simply a framework. It is not the answer, the judge or the jury. It is a suggested tool for learning. There are many others. It most certainly is not a measure of your true value as a human being. No test can give you a grade on that. We, as parents, can give our feedback and acknowledgement for a job well done. A virtual report card in the realm of living with honor and values. Indeed, it will reflect on ourselves as well. How are we doing as teachers of the core curriculum of life?

As the academic year comes to a close, congratulate each other for the success achieved by simply staying in the process. "A" for effort. Offer each other a sign of peace…and prosperity for the future. We are all in this together. Let us help one another along the way. We are, after all, each one of us, in our own way, MAGNA CUM LUADE. Congratulations to all.

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