You've got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

18 Jan 2015

On paper my husband is not the brightest spark. He left school with just one qualification – gardening. When I was talking to my daughter about the new Stephen Hawking film she asked me if he was the guy playing the Hobbit in the latest trilogy. He does not even know how to turn on a computer, yet alone use one and Midsomer Murders often confuses him.

If you were to judge him on just this information you would think that maybe he has a learning difficulty or that to quote an English saying he is "as thick as two short planks".

You would be wrong through.

He is a very intelligent, kind and thoughtful man. He has skills and talents that make him extremely popular and busy in our village.

Need a hedge cutting straight and level? he's your man (and all just by eye, no lines or levels). Need a tree felling in a difficult place? you know who to call. Need your chainsaw/mower/hedge trimmer repairing? give him a shout. Need a hedge laying in the traditional English way? he'll do it.

And he is not just good with his hands.

He has an amazing talent for listening to people. He would rather have his teeth extracted with a screwdriver than go to a social gathering but when he meets someone within half an hour he will know where they have come from, how many kids/grandkids they have, why they came here and what they do. He does not "pry" people just tell him things!

He has an encyclopedic knowledge of birds, fish and plants and I have yet to meet any dog or cat that does instantly adore him, he just has a way with animals.

I could go on, but you get the idea!

However like most of us (myself included) he is not very good at recognizing his good points. He often judges himself on what he cannot do, not on what he can. He reminds me of the phrase "If you judge a fish by its ability to ride a bicycle then it will always think it's stupid".

In the UK we are not very good at "bigging ourselves up", recognizing your strengths is seen as being arrogant and so we are constantly in danger of comparing ourselves unfavourably to others. But we are all different and have our own strengths and talents (yes even you!) and have something important to offer the world.

After all it would be a pretty strange world if we were all expert hedge layers and nothing else!


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