Brains are curious things. I’ve always loved them. Back when I thought I was capable of going to med school and being a physician, neurosurgeon was the goal. I held a brain in my first anatomy class and I was sold. I loved the soft spongy texture, which reminded me of what it felt like when I touched a dolphin as a child. I learned about all the tiny tiny nerves that come off the brain that control all the different things we do with our bodies. It was fascinating to me and it all made complete sense.
Isn’t it interesting how our life experiences seem to spill over into our responses to everything? From what we eat, to what we choose to read or watch on television, to how we react to those around us…the things we have experienced in life up to that point carry huge effect. We might decide not to get a driver’s license because we were in a bad car accident as a child. We might choose a career in oncology because we lost a family member to cancer. Perhaps we decide we don’t eat meat because we saw how an animal was slaughtered before being butchered and sold. All types of prejudices, whether they be against food or people or animals or anything else, are rooted in our experiences.
If we have any desire to overcome these prejudices, how then, would we do this when our experiences are all we have to go on? It’s a tall task. But I believe it not to be an impossible one. I believe we can learn from the experiences of others if we are willing to have an open mind and a tad bit of humility.
As someone who has a self-proclaimed faulty brain that often leads to undesirable social behavior, I tend to have a special place in my heart for those that struggle with mental quirks or disabilities. There is always someone who has it worse than me, but sometimes I feel I can at least relate to similar thought processes.
During our group meeting at church, our almost 2-year-old (who will be referred to Six from this point forward) loves to wave her arm in attempt to lead the music when we are singing a song. This past Sunday in one of my classes, we began with a song. A lady got up to lead the music, and a few measures into the song I looked at her and thought, “She leads the music just like Six!”. I chuckled inside and even sent a text to my husband because I thought it was funny. As the song progressed, I continued to watch her. I began to wonder who asked her to lead, since she clearly wasn’t leading much of anything with her arms flailing all over the place to a rhythm other than what we were singing. And when the song finished, she turned to the lady accompanying with the piano and asked, “Did I do any better that time?”. Wow. I immediately looked at her differently. She was completely aware of her inability to do the “norm”. All of the sudden I remembered how hard it is to fit in and how hard it is to be up in front of people.
I am constantly saying the “wrong” thing according to popular belief. I am often offending someone without the intent to do so. Usually people are confused when they hear what comes out of my mouth and oftentimes it doesn’t make any sense to those around me. But I have come to believe that these facts don’t make my brain any less great than the next person’s. And my brain isn’t any greater than the lady leading the music on Sunday. Maybe hers is greater than mine because of how much effort is required.
We measure brains with what we call intelligence quotient and give them a score. I think there’s more to it than that. I think all brains are different and perhaps what makes a brain great isn’t merely how well it can take a test.