Real Genius

I’m back teaching summer school

and my TA is a T.N.

Total. Nerd.

I don’t mean the cute Joseph Gordon-Levitt type. I  mean the kid who wears a shirt that has a periodic table with the quote “I wear this shirt periodically,” a joseph-gordon-levitt-02mouth full of braces, is as pale as he is skinny, and doesn’t know how to answer a simple question such as “Do you like working with kids,” but can go off on a tangent about the chemical composition of carbon dioxide in an alka-seltzer tab we’re using to make lava.       I am not even sure I know what that last sentence means.

He drives me crazy.

For 3rd and 4th period I teach a Chemistry in the Kitchen class to 1st and 2nd grade children. We basically put together  stuff that comes from the kitchen in hopes of the following:

1) An explosion.

2) An overflow of ingredients.

3) That it is something we can eat.

It’s a SUPER basic class, and because my specialty is reading and language arts I pride myself on having kept it simple for the last 4 years I’ve taught it. Now this kid shows up and does one or more of the following every day:

1) Corrects the terms I use like “pyramid” to “tetrahedron.”

2) Half cleans up when I ask him to clean up stuff. He only seems to focus on the immediate area around him, and not the entire classroom.

3) Spends 1-2 hours coming up with formulas for simple experiments I ask him to set up like making soda with a bit of baking soda, fruit punch powder, and water.

Let me touch on the last one and finally get to my point. Again this kid drives me crazy. He can be hardly helpful at times because he will sit at the back of the classroom writing out formulas or doodling pictures of the experiments he is supposed to actually ya know, be setting up in real life.

However, the day we were supposed to make the fruit punch soda I taught him something, and he taught me. After spending the first two hours of school writing out formulas and doing taste tests to see if there was a perfect scientific calculation formula thingy between the baking soda, water, and fruit punch he told me it was impossible to make the fizz without the drink tasting super bitter.

So asked him,

“Hey…did you just put the two into the water to taste? Like did you NOT calculate anything and just add in what you thought might work?”

“Um…huh? I tested a few samples from my calculations and-“

That’s a nope.

We went into the classroom. I put a teeny bit of baking soda, half a cup of water, and most of the fruit punch packet in the water. Voilà! Fizz, and a horrifyingly too-sweet drink any kid would love. He tasted it, paused, and replied “Uh ya that tastes pretty good.”

What did he learn? Sometimes its NOT about the perfect calculation for the perfect formula for the perfect result.

The real genius in life is understanding that sometimes the perfect result comes from an imperfect process.

Kinda like my life…

What did I learn? Patience. Although he drives me crazy this is a 14 year-old kid still figuring things out. Rather than forcing any ideas into his head I allow him the space to explore his position in our class in his own nerdy way. I also make sure to praise him highly in the occasional occasion his expertise come in handy.

I’m sure one day this kid will turn out to be just as cool as I am.  He will blossom into one of those confident nerds and meet someone who finds his interest in YouTubing Chemistry crash courses fascinating (this is a current hobby of his).


and he’ll be just fine.

Maggie xo


Consider the Source: Forgiveness

If you have not read my piece “Consider the Source” please stop here and take a quick peek at this past piece:



Even when we consider the source there are situations when someone hurts us in such a way that it might be time to move forward by significantly changing the dynamic of the relationship, or letting it go entirely.

Either way-YOU will need to confront letting go of the hurt with forgiveness.

However, this can be tricky sometimes…because often when we choose to hash it out or let people go without confrontation we consider that a form of forgiveness as we make ourselves feel better by protecting our emotions…but it’s not.

When people deeply hurt me I tend to do one of the two…cut them out, or ram directly into them to “fix” things. If I am able to cut someone out of my life in entirety I usually do it because I’ve been on the edge of my seat anyway, and am certain I will handle the closure all on my own. I work on emotionally announcing I forgive them, until I actually believe it, and put it in the past.

The latter method…not so much. I recall times in my life when I would do the typical Taurus bull-headed ramming; so desperate to repair the damage done because my logic was we could then erase the past. I was not working on forgiving because I wanted to jump over that part into healing. The more I pushed the farther back they went, and it would not bring us closer to heal. It brought us farther apart.

I have also had people do this to me-the ramming. Normally what happens is I stay in place taking the pushes hoping the person will get that energy out, but if they don’t…eventually I end up pushing them back hard enough to go far away…push-off-cliff

In both unhealthy situations ties are eventually severed, and in that time before saying goodbye I always remember something. I can not hand over my damaged emotions to the person who caused them, nor can a person I hurt expect to heal on my apology alone.

The work starts and finishes with me.

Callavida on Forgiveness…

When you hurt someone give them space.

When you need space from someone ask for it.

When you hurt someone forgive yourself.

When you forgive someone do it for yourself.


When you choose to forgive be done with it. Even if they do not say sorry or you are unable to repair things to as they were be done with that pain. Do not allow others to cloud your head with the choices that you make as people will always have opinions; mostly out of concern for your emotional health. Forgiveness is for me, and forgiveness sets me free.

Magdelena xo