“I am convinced all of humanity is born
with more gifts than we know.
Most are born geniuses
and just get de-geniused rapidly.”
—Buckminster Fuller


Fuller’s words strike a chord in me. As children, we dream up “genius” ideas by the dozen every single day. Our imaginations and creative powers come into this world uninhibited. But over time, whether it be through a harsh word, a school bully or ongoing pressure from society, that inner genius light begins to dim.

I am forever grateful for the teacher who saw a flicker of a creative spark in a simple mystery story I wrote in third grade for extra credit.

When I handed in my story, this teacher didn’t just slap a smiley face sticker at the top of the page and write the extra credit points in the grade book. When she saw I was still writing stories long after the initial assignment was handed in, she didn’t just smile and say, “Isn’t that cute?” to the other teachers. No, she decided it was her turn to do a little extra credit work of her own.

I can still remember sitting at the table in her office, going over the plot and mechanics of my simple story about crime-solving twins Bobby and Mindy Roberts (yes, his name was Robert Roberts). Meeting with me probably cost her a total of 15 minutes from her day, but the impact of those 15 minutes still resonate nearly 22 years later. Those 15 minutes opened the doors to my love of story and words and my current desire to create a life around my writing.

I still have the original story, a single sheet of paper worn and creased from being unfolded and read, refolded and tucked away many times over the past two decades. And as I read my one-page mystery through an overly critical, adult lens, I’m sort of stunned that this teacher saw anything in it at all, really. It’s riddled with holes and improbabilities, and more than a few misspellings. But all of that makes me realize it wasn’t so much what this teacher saw in the story as it was what she saw in the student who wrote the story.

She looked past the misspellings and sometimes awkward syntax, and read between the lines to see a child born with gifts…her own “inner genius” that came in the form of a passion for stories. This teacher realized the power to encourage or discourage, nurture or neglect, build up or stomp down was in her hands.

That same power is in your hands, too.

Your One Step:

Today is Wishcasting Wednesday over at Jamie Ridler Studios. Today the clever and creative Jamie asks, “What do you wish to read?”

I have two answers for today's question.

I wish to read my own published stories and books. I wish to read my articles featured in magazines across the country. And as I do, I wish to read the smile on my face as the happy satisfaction in knowing that is how I earn my living, that with every word I write I am fulfilling my life's purpose.
I also wish to read between the lines and, like this teacher, see the flicker of a creative spark, the "inner genius," in others.

So for today’s “One Step,” I ask you this: Who will you choose to be? Will you be the person who encourages the “genius” in others (and by “others,” I mean you, too) by giving five, 10 or 15 minutes of your time to help bring someone's inner genius to life? Or will you only see what’s in front of you, and consequently miss the color and depth hidden between the lines?

Make a choice and live it out starting...now!

Live Creatively!


4/13/2011 12:08:00 pm

I love your story about the young you and the teacher. We all need to reach out and find that spark in others.
I love your first wish especially. I suppose that is a secret wish of mine as well.
As Sara wishes for herself, so I wish for her also!

4/13/2011 01:19:14 pm

Go Sara! :D
As Sara wishes for herself, so I wish for her also.

4/13/2011 09:28:05 pm

Sara once again you have written a beautiful piece. I am a retired teacher. As I was reading your post, I was thinking to myself how wonderful that this teacher not only saw the potential in your story but most importantly the potential in you and took the time to share that with you. I believe that you will definitely accomplish both of your wishes. You have not only the talent to do so but the desire. I would love to pass on your post. It is a story that all teachers should read.
As Sara wishes for herself, I wish for her as well.


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