CREDOS : Word’s worth

Sixth grade hadn’t been a banner year for Eric. Never very confident in school, he had a particular dread of mathematics. “A mental block,” one of the school’s counselors had told him. Then, as if a mental block wasn’t enough, he came down with measles and had to stay out of school for two weeks. By the time he got back, his classmates were multiplying fractions.

Eric’s teacher, Mrs. Gunther was unsympathetic. For the rest of the year she hounded him with ceaseless makeup assignments. The mental block, once the size of a backyard fence, now loomed like the Great Wall of China. Eric despaired of ever catching up. Then came the remarkable moment. The fifth period class had been yawning through Mrs Warwick’s attempts to spark discussion about a Mark Twain story. At some point in the lecture, something clicked in Eric’s mind. It was probably crazy, but it suddenly seemed like he understood something. Despite himself, Eric raised his hand and ventured an observation.

That led to the moment when Mrs. Warwick looked straight into Eric’s eyes, beamed with pleasure, and said, “Why, Eric...that was very perceptive of you!” Perceptive. Perceptive? Perceptive! The word echoed in Eric’s thoughts for the rest of the day — and then for the rest of his life. Perceptive? Me? Well, yeah. I guess that WAS perceptive. Maybe I AM perceptive.

Eric went on to pursue a career in journalism and eventually became a book editor. —