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Ummmm... Dr Watts, what does that say?

Dr. Randy Watts
I have bad handwriting. I mean really bad handwriting. I am most thankful for computers and iPads because now I can actually read my own notes.
When my wife of fifteen years, Nadia, and I started dating, I sent her postcards while I was on vacation in Europe. She came to learn that the signature at the end of each letter that looked like “Narf” was supposed to say “Randy.”

I have bad handwriting. I mean really bad handwriting. I am most thankful for computers and iPads because now I can actually read my own notes.

We all know that a hallmark of Southern courtesy is the handwritten note. Many, many members of the Brookwood community have been generous to the school. As such, many, many of you have received a letter or a notecard that contained some level of unintelligible scrawl from me.

Our Booster Club President, Kevin Vick, recently tried to make me feel better about this. He said that he is now able to say to his fifth grader, “See, Turner, even with bad handwriting, you can at least be a Headmaster when you grow up.” 


As our students progress through school, they are given a wide array of academic and co-curricular activities. Inherently, they are exposed to opportunities that reveal their God-given strengths, and opportunities that expose weaknesses.

With respect to weaknesses, the challenge to students – and the educators, parents, and other adults who mentor them – is to understand personal limitations and to recognize where they can be mitigated or even turned into strengths. 

Because it’s nearly impossible for me to express written sentiment without exposing my Achilles heel of bad handwriting, I present to you a shortlist of people who have prevailed greatly in the face of various setbacks.

Albert Einstein struggled with speaking, reading, and social connections as a young child. However, this allowed him to think abstractly and become the most recognized theoretical physicist in the world.

Rebekah Gregory DiMartino ran part of this year’s Boston Marathon on a prosthetic leg, having been injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing two years ago. She became a runner after the accident.

Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism when she was a child; her parents were told that she would be institutionalized for the rest of her life. However, her ability to “think in pictures” helped her to reimagine cattle corrals, which has led to increased efficiency in the management and humane treatment of livestock.

Rick Allen remained the drummer for Def Leppard following a car injury that took his left arm. In fact, the band enjoyed the most commercial success during the time that they had a one-armed drummer.

Charles Schwab, an investment tycoon whose net worth is 6.4 billion, is diagnosed with dyslexia. While he found reading and writing to be very challenging as a student, he was able to bolster his math and science skills. At the same time, he had to lean on his buoyant personality. All of these factors contributed to his success.

Adam Levine, lead singer and guitarist for the rock band Maroon 5, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a child. He found that while he struggled with concentration in the classroom, but he was able to come up with “30 ideas at a time” in the recording studio, yielding an impressive creative output.

My message here is that the beauty of a full and well-rounded education is that students have the opportunity to discover their strengths and weaknesses.

So if you discover that you have a strength – great! Add some focus, sweat, and focus to it, and you will have something truly special.
And if you discover that you have a weakness – great! Learn more about it. At best, you can turn it into a strength. At worst, you can understand it better and work around it.

And even if you identify a really bad weakness, at the very least, you could be a Headmaster some day.

Located in Thomasville, GA, Brookwood School is a private school for grades JK-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.