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From the January 2006 issue of The Christian Science Journal

It Was the last day of school and the last day of grade one—for everyone but me, that is. After we had cleaned out our desks, the other children were escorted to see their new classrooms. I watched them leave, feeling puzzled and disappointed. Then my teacher turned to me. "You're not ready for grade two, Gina," she said, smiling. "So why don't you choose the desk you'd like to sit in next year." She never used the word failed, but I knew that's what I'd done. Later, at home in my mom's arms, tears pouring down my puckered face, I thought for the first time, "I'm stupid!"

At the time, I was attending a Christian Science Sunday School, where I was learning that another name for God is Mind. He is the only Mind, the source of all intelligence, and as His expression, I, too, must possess the quality of intelligence. These were big concepts for a seven-year-old. But my parents and grandmother understood them, and I believe their prayers enabled me to catch up quickly the next fall. I was moved into the second grade by Christmas.

After that year, though, I had a lingering fear of not being bright enough. When I reached grade eleven, I started skipping a lot of classes and got quite far behind. Late one night, I went into my parents' room to tell them I had decided to quit school. Instead of the argument I had been expecting, the conversation was calm and rational. They made only two requests—that I find a job and begin to contribute financially to the household.