Master of None

When I was growing up, my dad often talked about being a "well-rounded" person.  We had monthly father's interviews where he would ask us about progress in various areas of our lives.  He and my mom always encouraged us to try new things, to step out of our comfort zones.  I think we all took that message to heart.

Maybe I did too much. During my school years I did Mathcounts, Mock Trial, Geography Olympiad, student council, seminary council, Stagelight, Study Abroad, etc. etc. I spent eight years playing the flute in band and have hardly touched it since 2005.  My piano skills have decreased since high school, my vocal and writing skills since college.  I took a guitar class one summer semester at BYU and promptly forgot everything I learned.  (I'm sure I got an A.)  
Lest you all think I'm anti-sports, I DID try out for volleyball freshman year of high school, I just didn't make it (and truthfully, I was relieved).

Let's see ... I can crochet, decently well.  I can sew but I don't really have the patience for it.  My cooking and baking, dancing, hair and makeup skills are probably below average, my photog skills barely above.  I forgot most of the German I learned in four years of study.  Lately I've taken more of an interest in interior design, but don't claim any level of proficiency. There's definitely a pattern here - Jack of all trades, Master of none.  That's me, all right.

I'm not fishing for compliments here, just making an observation.  Is it better to excel at one or two things, or be decently good at several?  What do you think?

Anyway, I'm one of the best spellers you've ever met.  I almost won a district spelling bee in 8th grade. (Got out on a word I'd never seen/heard before.)  Jordan School District.  The biggest district in the state by far. 
So ... there's that.


Heather said...

Rachel, I like this post and I can relate! I was just telling Nick the other day that I have "no hobbies" - I feel like I'm okay at a lot of things, but not an expert in anything! Such is life I guess... but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that feels this way!

Linnea said...

I tell Jeff this about me all the time. I am average at a lot of things. I'm not going to the set the pond on fire, but I think I'm a comfortable type of person to have around. Some of us have to be average so that the really talented ones stand out better, right?

In one of my early BYU years I took a class where we discussed the Greek idea of arete, which I decided is what I am trying to achieve - just general excellence.

Being well rounded is a very good thing. You can relate to more people and have more experiences to draw on to help you through life.

Jean said...

Haha! Pond on fire! Leia, you are obviously excellent at all things American Girl. :)
And Heath - you have a Master's degree, which means you are very good at something. Public Administration?
Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!

Julia said...

So...since the craziness of life has started to calm down a little bit, I've been taking the time to investigate...stalk, is a such desperate word... ;)the blogs of fam and friends.

First of all, I love reading your blog and catching up with you and your fun family!

Second of all, you're totally awesome...like the literal definition of that word...at least to me. At one the Eddington family gatherings we actually attended my parents leaned over and told me all about how smart you are and how you had just finished a study abroad in Austria...I was pretty impressed. You're smart, musical, a great writer, fantastic photographer, etc. To a lot of people, and in a lot of ways, obviously more than you realize...you definitely excel (even if you can't remember as much German or Guitar as you learned in school)!

Third of all,I totally know what you mean with this post. I was talking to my Mom about it a couple of years ago when I was (though I suppose I still am) fascinated by too many things resulting in a sort of ADD when it came to mastering any measurable talent, and as moms often do with their daughters she shared some wise thoughts with me that have stuck ever since.

Basically, what it comes down to is that we have all eternity to learn how to become a master at everything, but only a short lifetime on Earth to become like Christ and to draw others to Him. I'm sure Christ would have been a renowned carpenter (or everything and anything else for that matter) if he so chose, but he didn't. He chose to spend his time teaching and helping others come to the knowledge of the Gospel. And we are asked to follow Him in this way of living.

So...Be a Master concert pianist if it will bring others to Christ, Be a master painter/sewer/photographer/etc., if it will make you more Christlike. But more often I think we become more like Christ as we parent. We bring others to Him more as we serve, than as we study. And we become the perfected Masters of ourselves as we master patience, charity, faith, and all the other attributes of Christ. Once we've done that we've gained exaltation, and once we've gained exaltation we can and should then become the masters of everything else. But while here on Earth, our mission is to become the Master of Ourselves.

OK...now that was probably more than you wanted to read, but that's what came to mind.