When you are weak, can you be strong?

By Scott Schimmel

I have a friend who claims to be terrible at math. She says it was her worst subject, and now that she has kids, she freaks out that her kids are going to have problems on their homework that she can’t help solve. 

Here’s the important question: how does she know that she’s terrible at math?

It’s not just with math, but pick any weakness you have. How do you know it’s a weakness? When did you first notice it? Who told you it was a weakness? Why is it a weakness for you?

I’ve asked her these kinds of questions about her lack of weakness in math, and she really didn’t know the answers to any of those questions. She just knows that math was always a struggle, she never really understood it, and her grades reflected that.

But what if?

What if she wasn’t naturally bad at math, like she’s assumed her entire adult life? What if there was a different problem, a problem that started at the beginning?

What if, on the first day of her first Algebra class in Middle School, she was assigned a seat in the back, next to the class-clown? The kid who made it his life’s goal to distract everyone around him and not care about school, like him. Or what if her first Algebra teacher was new to teaching, and hadn’t quite mastered the fundamentals of explaining complex math concepts to pre-teens? Math is one of those subjects that tends to build over time, so what if she missed the foundational concepts? It’s no wonder she struggled in Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, and certainly College Math! What if her attitude has always been terrible towards math, and her work ethic and desire to dig into the challenges kept her constantly swimming upstream?

When you identify a weakness, it deserves more than just a write-off. 

Your weaknesses deserve an opportunity to be explored, understood, and resolved. 

There’s always more to the story to your weaknesses. Sure, you don’t want to be hindered by them. Your weaknesses drag you down, and limit your potential and productivity. But, too often, we neglect exploring our weaknesses because they bring up big feelings inside of us, big, uncomfortable feelings. 

As Guides to emerging adults, we know that young people are making decisions about their identity that will shape their future story. We can help them explore their weaknesses to understand them and resolve them, and figure out what to do about them. Sometimes, you ought to avoid weaknesses at all costs. Sometimes, you need to hire a tutor. Sometimes, you need to change your attitude. 

We don’t need to worry when we explore our weaknesses. They are instructive, and in understanding them, we can figure out what to with them. And, who knows, in facing our weaknesses we just might grow into resilient, gritty, and wise adults. 

We have a group, peer-to-peer program run by an expertly trained Guide, as well as a 1-1 program that can be customized around your schedule. Our program helps emerging adults explore their weaknesses and turn them into strengths.