I can remember being in the classroom while a teacher critiqued my work harshly, rejecting it for the bulletin board. “Unacceptable. This work is far from exemplary.” Like anyone being dressed down in front of friends, I began to sweat, instinctively gripping the arm of my shirt, anger boiling inside me. But I learned, at that moment, to absorb criticism and to make sure that next time it would be better. Because there would be a next time, and the next time I colored in a picture of a teddy bear it would be done perfectly. Besides, I had other things to worry about. After all, my sixth birthday was coming up.