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One Smart Cookie

Woman being intelligent by reaching out for help.

I love how Carol concluded her blog with the line, “I am an intelligent person,” found in both the TOPS and KOPS pledges. I have used that line many times when I have struggled to learn from my mistakes and make a wiser choice the next time.

Years ago, when I was a small child, my father helped me to grasp what it means to be intelligent. I don’t think I was even old enough to understand what that word meant at the time, but the lesson stuck with me forever. Dad ran a crew of residential pipe layers for a gas company. This is hot, dirty, labor-intensive work requiring strength, skill, stamina and teamwork. One day, for reasons shared in another blog, I found myself in the crew at the tender age of 6. All of them knew me and accepted Dad’s challenge to teach me an important life lesson by placing me there. One gave me a pickaxe that was almost taller than I was. One gave me a container of water. One gave me a bandana to tie around my hair and one gave me gloves. I was a “smart cookie,” and figured out quickly what these were for. However, I discovered that I had MUCH to learn as soon as I tried to pick up that axe!

I tried a variety of techniques with considerable failure, but received constant encouragement from the crew, despite scant success. Finally, almost exhausted, sweaty, frustrated, irritated and quite humbled, I looked up at the guys and asked for someone to show me how! That request changed my life in the trenches. In no time at all, I was making my small path, contributing to the team and LEARNING. I felt accepted and valued by them and worked my hardest for us to meet our goal.

That lesson has traveled with me into adulthood, and expressed itself many times over. It certainly applies to my TOPS journey. I was intelligent enough to ask other members in my chapter facing similar challenges with their weight for help, to listen to their tips, experiences and suggestions, and to apply them to making changes for a lifetime with my doctor’s guidance, as well. I am so thankful to be in the company of so many “smart cookies.”

Being intelligent, to me, is being smart enough to ask for help, listening closely when help is given, learning from that knowledge and applying it as I continue to grow.

Learning as I go, Barb

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