Monday, August 8, 2011

Why I No Longer Hate Adina Howard

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Have you ever hated someone – I mean absolutely despised them – just because they were more successful at life than you?  Is there someone who gets more credit for their work than you?  How about someone in school who earns better grades with the same amount of effort spent?  Is it a family member or a friend that you just can’t stand?

For me, my kryptonite was Adina Howard.  She was an absolute she-devil! 

She constantly finished her classwork before anyone else.  It’s her fault that my penmanship is so illegible these days – I was racing to try and beat her.  Sadly it never happened.

Time and time again, she would beat everyone else in the multiplication game in math class.

Adina was also the fastest runner in our class, boy or girl.  She was an absolute gazelle when it came to foot races.

Of course we were only 7 years old at the time of this injustice.  I probably didn’t hate her, but I know that several of us boys were rough on her because we were so jealous of her ability to absolutely dominate us.

The problem was that she wasn’t intentionally mean – she was actually quite sweet.  To the best of my knowledge, she wasn’t bent on destroying me.  It just happened that way because I made it destructive.

At some point in elementary school, she switched schools and I lost track of her.  Along the way I forgave her for being so awesome.  Even though I’ve not seen her in over two decades, I’m confident that by now she’s well on her way to ruling her part of the world.

Do you have an Adina in your life?  Is there someone in your life who’s better at what you do than you are?  Are you competing with them, or learning from them?

At some point, I learned to run faster, to do multiplication quicker in my head, to print rapidly yet legibly – and part of the thanks belongs to Adina.  She unconsciously pushed me to be a better person, and for that I am thankful.  For that I don't hate her, but love and appreciate her influence in my life.

Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”  Here’s the deal.  Iron on iron creates friction.  Heat.  Energy.  Many times friction is good, but there are times where it’s unpleasant.  It’s not easy to digest.  It’s absolutely painful.  Self-improvement requires patience, discipline, and a stomach for persevering when times get tough.

Also, iron vs. iron of equal chemical composition doesn’t necessarily create a sharper blade.  One must be stronger, tougher, and more durable than the other one to have any impact on it.  So it is in our relationships.  It takes a better person than ourselves to help shape us into a wiser person.  
So who in your life is sharpening you today?


  1. I must say that I needed to hear this today! Were you writing to me? Haha!

  2. I'm so glad Tom. It's just something that's been on my heart for a while, and I figured someone else out there must feel what I wrote about today.