Thursday, October 13, 2011

Inspiring Genius

While I was looking at the magazine cover of the kayak skiing down the snow covered mountain, thinking how fun that must be, and how dangerous, Asherel was checking her email.
"Oh, poor Josh is freaking out," she said.
"Why?"
"He's toastmaster (of Gavel Club) next week and he sent me 6 emails with questions of what to do."
It is funny that of all people, Josh would be nervous about this role, as he comes across as remarkably self confident, perhaps even a toe over too self confident.
"Are you advising him?" I asked.
"Yes."
I continued thinking about the kayak skiing- would it really be possible to turn, using oars, going 100 miles an hour down icy steep inclines? And if turning were possible, how about stopping? I began to picture in my head the various possible methods of stopping and not one involved leaving the kayak rider alive.
Asherel erupted in laughter.
She could barely speak through her gasping chortles as she read Josh's response:
"Some people, while not possessing genius, have a remarkable talent of stimulating it."
I laughed, "What advice did you give him that was so wonderful?" I asked.
"He couldn't quite fit all the print on one page so I told him to decrease the margins."

I thought about parenting, then. I do not possess genius. However, I do try to stimulate it in my kids. They have far more potential than I ever had. But what I do have is determination and perseverance. I figure if I can somehow teach them to use their fine brains God has given them to their full potential and never give up, they could change the world...and I think they have a responsibility to do so.  I had a fun facebook discussion with a friend about perseverance. I can't remember his quote, but I wrote the one I had grown up with: Success is 1 % inspiration and 99% perspiration. I believe it was Woody Allen who said most of success was just showing up. I would add to that- showing up day after day after day, till the job is done.

It is very easy to be inspired. It is much more difficult to follow that inspiration to completion, because completing a work always involves hard, and often tedious, laborious persistence. It is very discouraging to me to see half finished projects gathering dust. God warns us of this tendency to stop when the going gets tough. There are twice as many references to perseverance as to  inspired in the Bible. Those who persevere are told they are blessed, will develop character, will lead to hope, will be commended.  In counterpoint, in Hosea, the inspired person is called a maniac. Inspiration is a good beginning, but it is never where we should end. Inspiration should always be transformed into something that draws us nearer to the end. We are inspired upon hearing the command, but we must persevere to complete it. It may be the inspiration of a genius to reduce the margins, but someone still has to write the text that must fit the page. And that takes effort.

"Speaking of inspiring genius, look at this," I said showing Asherel the picture of the kayak skiing down the mountain. I just couldn't get over what maniac would think to do this.
"Fun!" she said.
"Dangerous," I said, thinking this is one project I am not inspired to bring to fruition.

James 1: 12
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

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