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There are events that happen in life that will impact and color our outlook for years to come. Unfortunately, these events do not arrive with flashing lights and sirens to warn us that we are about to experience a significant event. Mostly they come disguised as the common ordinary experiences of life. Only after some reflection do we come to understand the impact of these events. Some are positive, while many are negative.

There is one such event that happened in my life in the fifth grade. I attended James H. Smart elementary school in Fort Wayne Indiana. The school was built in the early part of the 20th century and resembled a fortress. It was located at the corner of Pontiac and Smith streets. My fifth-grade teacher was a WWII veteran of the Air Force. It was in the fifth grade that we started dividing up and moving around the classroom for various subjects. I loved school and did quite well except for one subject, math. The teacher came up with a motivational tool to help us excel at math, except it had the opposite effect on me. He divided the class into three groups: Group number one contained the names of the kids that excelled at the new math concepts we were learning and on a bulletin board in the front of the room their names appeared under the heading “Eagles.” Next to the ‘eagles’ was the second group which was the students that did okay with the new math assignment and they were listed under the category “sparrows.” The names of the students were listed in alphabetical order. There was a third category this was for the kids who were not quite getting the concepts and were struggling with understanding, listed in this category was my name. My name was first on the list. What was the category? We were the “Dodos.” You know as in the extinct bird who couldn’t fly and just stood there as people beat them to death. Every day in class as I looked at the teacher, there was my name as the first student under the ‘dodo’ category. It was embarrassing and humiliating. From that day to now I have not liked math. That one experience has colored my view of the subject of math.

My teacher meant to motivate us and to encourage us to get better. He was not a mean person. Yet, his method led to the opposite for me. My view of myself in regard to math became a self-limiting belief. What are the stories we repeat to ourselves? “I am not a good student,” I will never amount to anything.” These statements become embedded in our brains and we then accept them as a fact. You are not the result of your bad experiences! You can change! Do not give up because of something that happened in your past. Certainly, I understand that the events and circumstances of our lives do impact us, but turn it over to God, learn the lesson and push forward.

This is why I talk so much about habits and personal development. God’s grace is a wonderful blessing and He wants us to trust Him and to be a blessing to others. To get ‘unstuck’ take the focus off of your problems and focus on being a help and blessing to someone else going through a hard time. Though the human experience is complicated, remember simply that you are loved and valued by God.

Whatever the self-limiting belief that is impacting your life, give it to the Lord and use it as a teching tool to assist and encourage others. You can make it with God’s help and you will be a blessing to someone who needs your encouragement. Why not seek to be a blessing and to bless someone today with your story and encouragement?

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