Tuesday, November 10, 2020

So You Think You're ALL THAT...Give It A Minute.

 If you think you're "All That," you sometimes need a reminder of your limitations and frailties.

Some would call it a rude awakening. I call it a blessing; A way of keeping me focused and grounded. Here is an example. I offer it because I think we can all use a good laugh.

The year is 1998.

I was thrilled to be hired as a professor at  Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary shortly after graduating from my doctoral program. My first week of school, I managed the small education classes I was hired to teach without incident. 

However, I was also asked to participate in a team taught class on human development and learning. It was a large class representing a wide range of students in programs other than teacher education. I was a bit nervous. The other two teachers were far more experienced and well prepared after years of teaching the course. 

I worked hard to get my lessons ready. This was during a time before we had access to Power Point or online technologies. I outlined my lecture and put together what I hoped were interesting transparencies (clear acetate sheets) for the overhead projector. Each of the overhead sheets represented a point I was making in my talk.

The day finally arrived to deliver my first lesson to the students assembled in the large room. I stood up, introduced myself, and launched into my well-rehearsed presentation on child development. I looked to my numbered acetate slides neatly stacked beside the overhead projector.

I turned on the projector and put the first transparency on the light box. I looked up to make sure the image was clear for the sophomores and juniors taking the class. 

It looked pretty good except for the long cord hanging down from the ceiling. I walked over and pulled the cord aside so my students could see the image and continued with my lecture. 

I was gaining confidence. I walked back to the overhead projector and replaced the first transparency with my second one. I looked up. 

Everything would be perfect if it wasn’t for that stupid cord in the way. 

I walked back toward the wall and pulled the cord aside. I never missed a beat with my prepared presentation.

Finally, one student timidly raised her hand. 

Good. I’m connecting! Someone has a question.

“Yes?” I said as I nodded her way.

“Uh, Dr. Waters, I think if you pull that cord down it’s a screen.”

I looked at that inconvenient cord and pulled on it. Sure enough, a large screen came down. 

I had been displaying the transparencies on the wall. 

I stood there for a minute shaking my head back and forth, smiling at my own inadequacies. When I turned around, the students were trying very hard to not laugh. They were most respectful. That alone endeared that group to me forever. 

“Don’t you find that hilarious?” I asked.  I laughed out loud and soon they joined me. It was not planned but certainly the best icebreaker I could have hoped for in my first semester as a professor.

God reminds me on a regular basis that I'm "not all that." 

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3" 

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