Sunday, September 23, 2007

Encouragement from Louisa May Alcott

I spent all weekend doing SAT test-type problems.  (Actually GMAT problems -- the test for business school) 

And when I say all weekend, I mean pretty much all weekend.  From 9 am until 6 pm Saturday AND Sunday, and homework Saturday night. (I was getting trained to teach GMAT courses)  So my brain is pretty fried with all kinds of "If Steve and Rob live 400 miles apart and drive toward each other, and Steve is driving 60 miles an hour and Rob is driving 80 miles an hour....."  and "What is the greatest value for m that satisfies the condition of.... <long string of exponents...>"  Sounds like a fun weekend, huh? 

It's been a very quick way to show me how much of a moron I am these days.  I couldn't do hardly any of the problems without being shown how.... and I don't know much about grammar rules either, it turns out.  And I can't do reading comprehension questions, and much to my great surprise, even though I have spent 30+ years perfecting this skill, I couldn't do much with the "Arguments" section either.  So, yes, I'm a moron.

However, I also realized that the time really went by quickly this weekend... which I guess means I was enjoying what I was doing.  I have to admit, working out a lot of the problems WAS fun.  Which I guess makes me a nerd.  But can you be a moron AND a nerd?  Sounds like an oxymoron.  (And "oxymoron" sounds like a moron who is clean, by the way)

ANYWAY, while I was spending all this time at The Princeton Review's office, I had to answer the questions about what else I "do" besides teach courses for them.  I found myself being a little hesitant to say that most of my time was spent being a mother at home to my 3 children... even though I KNOW this is a very good thing.

But then last night as I was going to bed I read a passage in the book I'm currently reading that really encouraged me.  The book is Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (author who wrote Little Women, etc.)  The main character, a 14-year old girl named Rose, was telling her uncle, Alec, that she wanted to develop a "trade" to help support herself when she became an adult.  And this is their dialogue:

(Alec is speaking) "Well, now, there is one very excellent, necessary, and womanly accomplishment that no girl should be without, for it is a help to rich and poor, and the comfort of families depends upon it.... It should be a part of every girl's education..."

 "Oh, what is it?" cried Rose eagerly, charmed to be met in this helpful and cordial way.


"Is that an accomplishment?" asked Rose, while her face fell, for she had indulged in all sorts of vague, delightful daydreams.

"Yes, it is one of the most beautiful as well as useful of all the arts a woman can learn.  Not so romantic, perhaps, as singing, painting, writing, or teaching, etc, but one that makes many people happy and comfortable, and home the sweetest place in the world.  Yes, you may open your big eyes, but it is a fact that I had rather see you a good housekeeper than the greatest belle in the city.  It need not interfere with any talent you may possess, but it is a necessary part of your training, and I hope you will set about it at once..."

Isn't that a great description??  I was very inspired after I read that.  Mine is a noble profession indeed.

I am tempted here to put some reading comprehension questions about the passage, but I will refrain.  Mostly because I would probably get them all wrong.

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