In The Art of Possibility, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander take readers through a series of steps to re-imagine the world around them. While the book started off as a form of pop-semantics lesson that seemed like diluted writings from Swiss linguist Ferdinand De Saussure, I really liked what it said about everything being invented but I felt like I had heard it all before. The chapter I was most struck by was the part about giving the "A." The several vignettes in this chapter provided illumination on a positive way to see the world for a critical person like myself. If anyone has seen the recent film, "Our Idiot Brother," the idea of giving an "A" is illustrated by the central character, played by Paul Rudd. He is explaining to another character the story of how he was arrested for selling marijuana to a uniformed police officer. If you have not seen it, the scene in which he makes the transaction seems logical to the audience but just like if someone told the story in real life, you would assume they were an idiot. Rather than embody that moniker, he simply shares the way he lives his life. He says that he gives people the benefit of the doubt, that everyone has the best intentions, and when he approaches the world like that, more often than not, "people rise to the occasion." That is the crux of giving everyone the "A." It means, not selling people short, perhaps giving them more credit than they deserve and allowing them to rise to meet the challenge. I think too often we are quick to fall into the measurement world of grading everyone rather than looking at the whole block of marble and seeing how we can chip away to make a more meaningful relationship. It is certainly far easier than dismissing people outright.
I agree with you that we tend sell people short, loading them up with our junk, and not looking at them for who they are. I think life moves so fast that we don’t take the time to get to know people for who they are and what they truly have to offer. It is like our students; they are the blocks that we get to watch chip away. Like you said it is too bad we don’t take the time with adults to see the pieces chip away. By dismissing them we may be missing the right people.