Ever since I returned from Wales, I have been avoiding writing. Feeling utterly inadequate to express or describe the beauty I saw, the spirit of the people I met, and the sense of homeland, I just haven’t written. I’ve thought about trying to write to convey those experiences hundreds of times over the last few months. Paralyzed.

I decided tonight to put all that inadequacy aside and simply begin again. Perhaps at another time and place I will be able to write about Wales, but not yet.

It is amazing to me how feelings of inadequacy can keep me from doing things I enjoy and how often I have to fight back to do the thing I enjoy. (In this case, write.) I’m sure I’m not the only human being who struggles with this, but it is a fierce struggle. Beginning again and again and again seems to be what I do.

That makes me think about my students. How many of them are feeling inadequate and what could I do to help them want to keep trying? I realized writing this that it sounds funny to want to be “adequate.” So why is “inadequate” so powerful a label? If I work so hard to not be “inadequate,” will all I find is being “adequate?”

So I had to go to the dictionary to check word origin: Maybe adequate isn’t so weak after all. I like the idea of being equal to what is required. I’ll keep working on that.

Word Origin and History for adequate Expand
1610s, from Latin adaequatus “equalized,” past participle of adaequare “to make equal to,” from ad- “to” (see ad- ) + aequare “make level,” from aequus (see equal ). The sense is of being “equal to what is required.”

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