Donald Kim: My IQ Wasn’t High Enough

In junior high, I had an interesting run-in with IQ to assess people’s ability and aptitude for adapting.

I was in the seventh grade when I went to see my counselor in hopes of taking gifted and talented classes. She told me that I first had to take a test. OK, sure. The results came in and she gave me the news: I was neither gifted nor talented.

I was at a loss. I wrote a letter to my elementary school teacher back in California (I was in Texas at the time). She wrote back telling me that she went through my records and it was true: I did not qualify for the gifted and talented program there either. Schools in both Texas and California were unanimous in their assessment of me at the age of 11. My father wasn’t around — he had passed away that year. My mother wasn’t fluent in English.

So much for helicopter parents. I was on my own. Not gifted. Not talented.

My future was caving in on me. My limitations were in plain sight. The news was devastating.

But in retrospect, it was the best news I could have received. Nothing was a given for me. I didn’t have the natural gifting for schooling, but I was still there, and I remember loving my time in school. I frequently stayed afterward to talk to my teachers — to pick their brains. Thinking back, I didn’t know how selfless my teachers were in giving up time with their families to talk to me.

My underachieving IQ score didn’t determine the course of my life; it only made me hungrier with an appetite to learn.

We live in a world that wants to determine people’s worth through gifting and usefulness. Churches may make the mistake of assessing the quality of people by what they can bring to the table — or the offering plate. It’s almost as if there’s an SQ (spiritual quotient) test that can be administered to evaluate people’s value to ministry. But there is not — certainly not for increasing numbers, attracting more talent or stimulating spiritual growth.

I’m keen on reminding students at the college where I teach that I do not measure their worth by how they do in my class. If anything, I don’t remember test scores, though I will remember what they wrote in their papers from time to time. I tell them God has shown me repeatedly that He can use anyone — regardless of their capacity, regardless of who they are or what they’ve faced. Everyone is a wild card.

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Source: Baptist Press