Written on the summary page of my school memory book for my first year in this mountain top village under achievements is the sentence, “Went from nerd to cool”. A piece of paper, signed by all of my classmates confirms the transition where almost every girl and reluctantly every guy has written down, “Love the suit”. Proof that the transition did in fact occur, although it is not clear if it was me who did the transitioning or my perception.
Either way, I was noticed and I used that to my benefit in every way I could. I was winning awards, I was on sports teams, apparently I was learning a variety of musical instruments as well, having done a spectacular job on the guitar. Oddly enough, that skill did not transfer with me into adulthood where my wife and I were youth leaders for a season and I was inspired to purchase a guitar, always having wanted to play one. I bought it with the intention to play it for the youth and lead them in some singing. To celebrate this moment I brought the guitar to youth showing it off to everyone. I then opened the case, sat down in front of them, and told them that I had practiced a song that I would now play for them.
It was called, “I’m getting out of jail today.” To which I proceeded to use the plastic pick to rub the guitar strings, mimicking the sound of sawing through the bars of a jail cell.
No one got it.
I never played the guitar again.
However, back in this first year in the mountain top village I had the golden touch. Everything I did I received awards and my successes were celebrated. One celebration in particular was most poignant. It occurred in home education class. The semester project was to sew an apron, the resulting creation being graded and that became your final grade for that class. This was a full apron with a bib and neck piece, with two pockets on the waist, tied at the back with two long straps. A complicated piece that required you to pay attention to the different sewing instructions received throughout the semester.
Instead I called upon a new skill I was developing behind closed doors; people resource management. In particular it was the skill of having other people do your work while having them think it is both their idea and a good idea. I perfected this skill during this home education class and had the opportunity to use it in the years that followed, in particular during my entire grade 11 physics class where my classmates would simply fill in my test score answers for me and in my grade 12 english course where my girlfriend at the time actually completed the entire course for me. That backfired somewhat when it came to the final exam, however I was still able to pull off a low C for the course, her work carrying me through.
But, back in this home education class I took a look at this final assignment. I divided the project into its main components and assessed it against the half dozen work groups that were in the class. Determining the personalities and strengths of each work group I then corresponded one aspect of this project to each work group in order to compound my success. If one group had some participants that enjoyed the quilted bib component then I paired that part of my sewing project to that group.
As a result I had each of the work groups complete one aspect of my sewing project and then I approached another person to sew all the components together. The end result was amazing and I received an A for my work.
In hindsight I wonder if the other people in my particular work group were as impressed with me as I thought they were. They spent their semester watching me work the room and not the project, as they struggled with their own sewing lamentation.
Resource management is not for everybody I suppose.