It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
I struggle to translate some of my favorite quotes into Spanish, but I have found this one to not only translate…. But to mean something. No sera facil…pero valdra la pena.”
This last week was one of those three steps back weeks. We moved forward with the university, which brought encouragement and energy… but it also means that more work is to be done. I felt like I was always behind all week as new things came up daily.
As I watched the adults come in and we began classes, I saw something different in their eyes that I haven’t seen in the younger students. Many of these adults have already finished other post-secondary programs – receiving degrees as teachers, secretaries or even classes in engineering programs. But as I explained to them the importance of their times tables and knowing their addition and subtraction facts, they said no one ever required them to learn them. And this is true. And as we taught fractions –simple fractions – I saw lightbulb after lightbulb go off. Once again, they were not taught. We could easily criticize their education system. I often have. But these adults are just as hungry, if not more, for any education they can get. And so I return to one of my most often quoted phrases… it may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Easy can be interpreted by everyone differently. Some people find Calculus to be easy. Others struggle to understand how to divide 64 by 6.Yet easy is not what we are aiming for. Easy does not get us any closer to the goal. Our hope is that both students are able to walk away with a sense of accomplishment, to have another skill under their belts and to be able to see, in some small way, how God is drawing them in. I never promise that it will be easy…. Because the easy way many times is not God’s way. What I do promise students is that when they look back, they will know that it was worth it. It was worth it to understand and not just memorize. It was worth it to do it yourself and not just copy someone else’s. It was worth it to do something different. Because we never know how good we can be unless we try.
As eyes glitter and smiles filled faces, I assigned their first homework. Eighteen simple fractions. And here is what I received back. I had forgotten that one of the greatest trademarks of this culture is the pride that they take in even a small assignment that could have been completed on a half sheet of paper. In folders, with title pages, and decorations and drawings. I would like to think they were just excited and enjoyed math that much….
And so… thus begins a new chapter for yet another new group of students.