I walked into my Economics course at the University of Georgia and my professor, Dr. DeLorme drew a bell curve on the blackboard and then introduced himself.  He explained that the bell curve represented the grades we would all make in his Macro Economics course.  He went on to say that there would be something like 3 A’s, 10 B’s, 20 C’s, etcetera.   I thought, “Even if we all bust it and put in the effort to make the “A” we were not all going to receive one.  Period.  It had already been decided.

I was determined but a bit intimidated.  A number of students dropped the class in the first two weeks.  Most of us fought on determined to survive.  As frightening as the beginning of class was, I really liked Dr. DeLorme and he ended up being one of my favorite professors.  He was fun, fair and had an exciting and unique way to keep your attention in class.   Perhaps, you noticed it already.  He was a bit menacing and nerve-racking.  What you didn’t grasp, however, was that he was also fun.  Lots of fun!  I loved his sense of humor.   I must admit, however, that many in the class did not “get him” and were sure they would flunk.  Some of them did.  I liked him but one size does not fit all.

Michangelo described that there was in every piece of marble a beautiful statue waiting to escape.  All that was needed was to remove the excess stone thus revealing the magnificent piece of art.  We are not, have never been and will never be alike.  Sure we will share a common human experience but we are different from one another with varying strengths, weaknesses, talents and gifts.  This is the uniqueness of our journey.  This is the adventure we call life.

I had some adventures growing up.  It was challenging growing up with a Mom who made straight A’s in school her entire educational career.   Why?  She expected both of her sons to do the same.  She and I constantly talked about grades and performance.   I felt tremendous pressure to please my mom and make A’s.  I hated it when I made B’s and I didn’t make many.  What I hated was the grilling I would receive when Mom saw the report card.  Pain.  Agony.  Despair.   I am glad to tell you that Mom and I worked that entirely out between us.  Probably, it is worth telling you that I was Thirty Something when we actually did resolve our “stuff” from my high school years.

Anyway, I discovered through this adventure a method of dealing with pressure and stress that I have carried with me all of my life.  I learned it to be quite honest from my life’s greatest teacher, Jesus.  It’s called grace.  It’s the ability to accept from God but also the ability to accept from yourself and others… what you do not deserve.  For today’s purposes I will translate into school system vernacular.  Genuinely, give yourself an A+ before you begin your next potentially stressed filled endeavor.  In fact, give others who are also involved in this task an A+, too.

It will transform the way you relate to the world around you but most importantly, it will also transform the way you talk to yourself.  It has the potential of freeing you up to show up willing to express your own thoughts and feelings.  Others will more likely feel your personal support and advocacy for their role and contribution in this project.  This practice moves you from the world of measurement and into a world of possibilities where so many good things can happen.

You can give an A + to your husband or wife, your kids, a waitress, your employer, your Mom, your mother-in-law, Democrats or Republicans and even to the idiots who drive on the highways and byways around you.  When you give an A+ you are showing respect for others for who they are today and not measuring them against your “high standards” which you don’t always keep yourself.  Your vision is clearly on the marble rock within which you are completely convinced resides a masterpiece.  Give yourself an A+ and give a few out to others.

So, let’s get started with this right now.  Give out an A+ to someone in your household in the next 10 minutes.  Tell us how it went when you comment on this blog.