Belief and the Board Rubber


I was fifteen years old, at school and my daily maths class was about to begin. I hated maths. Just knowing that the class was about to start, bringing forty-five minutes of brain torture, made me restless. In those days we had blackboards and chalk (yes, I am that old!). That day, as on many previous days, I was intending to hide the board rubber as a delaying tactic. Our teacher would have to spend about ten minutes looking for it or would have to go to another classroom to get one, which would mean only thirty minutes of agonising brain strain. I was just thinking about where I was going to put it this time, when suddenly the door opened and in stepped Mrs Teague, catching me red-handed with board rubber and a very guilty look on my face. I was terrified and really, rather ashamed of myself. I just wanted the ground to swallow me up and awaited my justly deserved fate. Expecting to be severely reprimanded, taken to the headmistresses office, or at worst detention, I was utterly surprised to hear a very gentle Scottish voice say:

"I think we'd better put that back hadn't we?". Daring to gaze up, I saw serious yet kind eyes looking at me. Sheepishly I nodded and returned to my desk and although my cheeks were still burning I felt an immense amount of gratitude. She hadn't screamed at me, or punished me after all that class time I had wasted over so many weeks. I couldn't believe it. 
I tried hard to focus on my work but just couldn't understand the equations. My teacher came several times to my desk that day and quietly and gently asked me what I was struggling with. Now that she knew that I was the hider of the board rubber she had realised that what was preventing me from moving forwards with maths was not inability, apathy or disobedience, but in fact fear. With kindness and patience she gently started to steer me in the direction of possibilities. By believing and connecting with my innate goodness, and believing in my ability and potential, she was able to help me over my hurdles to finally see the possibility that I could in fact understand maths. 

Up until that point, my maths had been so bad that my parents were told I would be lucky if I even scraped through the exams. This was serious stuff, as without basic maths I would not be able to continue higher education or university and would find it hard to get a job in the future. Everyone had pretty much given up on the hope of me ever managing more than a grade C and were just praying for that. Based on consistent past performance they had understandably come to the conclusion that maths just wasn't really my thing. I had begun to think I was slightly stupid. My teacher was able to recognise and transform my block. By giving me the gift of her belief in my ability and never giving up on that, she allowed me to also believe it was possible to succeed. Because of her kindness and patience in the face of my misdemeanour I also believed in her and wanted to work hard and make a huge effort. So there was a partnership of trust and belief taking place. No longer distracted, I was able to move beyond my fears. I really paid attention in class, and.....the end of the year I passed maths with a grade A to everyone's and my own surprise and joy!

When we believe in others, we help them to believe in themselves and the seemingly impossible becomes possible.  Faith and kindness can take us such a long way. 

So next time you catch yourself saying, "there's no hope for.."or "...will never change" think about what message you are giving yourself and the other. What motivation is there to try? 

Someone believed in me when everyone else including me had given up hope, and that was all it took to keep me believing in myself, take action and move forwards to success. 

Is there someone you can see struggling? Do you think there's no hope for them? Where could you inject some belief into their lives?

What or who has helped you believe in yourself when you had nearly given up hope? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Feel free to comment below or directly to me by email: If there is an area where you believe you are blocked or stuck and want a partner to help you through don't hesitate to contact me via my website