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As a kid I never was sure whether I was smart or just a “dumb idiot.” The latter I had been told many times during my years living in a Jacksonville, Florida orphanage. Never did try and find out the answer, neither ‘cause it would have made no difference. I recall the first time I began to wonder about being smart and whether it was really that important.

I sat in mechanical drawing class and watched as the teacher kept rubbing on his chin, as though he were thinking. All at once he stood up and told the class to design anything we could think of, using our imagination.

“I am more interested in imagination than content,” he told the class.

We were given thirty minutes to complete the assignment. Within one minute I had completed my work and I raised my hand. The teacher raised his eye-brows and walked over to my seat. He looked down at the large sheet of paper and then stared directly at me.

What is that?” He asked me.

I motioned for him to lean over and I whispered into his ear. He nodded his head, in an up and down motion, as though he approved. He took my paper, folded it in half and took it to his desk.

I sat watching as many of the kids designed large skyscrapers and the like. As the thirty minutes neared its end many of the kids began to show each other their papers. The room filled with excitement.

When the time limit ended the teacher had each student come to the front of the class, one at a time, and explain their work.

When the last paper was shown the teacher stood up and said “There will only be one “A” given today and it will be given to Roger Kiser.

The teacher pointed at me and motioned for me to come to the front of the classroom. As I reached his desk he picked up my paper and held it out for the class to see. Every mouth dropped and the room became silent. Drawn on my paper was nothing but a large square.

What does he get an “A” for drawing a square?” asked one student.

“Tell the class what this is Roger,” instructed the teacher.

I took the paper from the teacher and held it forward for all to see.

“I was asked to design something using my imagination. I thought if someone were to come to me and asked me to design them a house, shaped like a circle, but unlike any other circle in the world. What would I design? I decided to design them the first round house shaped like a square circle.

The class sat there in total silence.

“That is exactly what I was looking for,” said the teacher.

The students rose from their seats and began slapping me on the back and shaking my hand.

I knew right then and there that being smart was more than just knowing a lot of stuff. That it had something to do with understanding. That it had something to do with seeing things just a little bit differently than others would view it.

Even though I only had a sixth grade education; I suppose that is what led me to become a writer/author. I saw that I was able to show others that pain was more than just hurting and that crying was more than just tears.

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