As folks here in Quebec commonly say, "Ouff!"
Because now, as far as what I KNOW, I'm not nearly so
- presumptuously puffed up...
I hope I'm not (at least not most of the time) in the attitude I present to others.
(Feel free to call me out on that one if you this attitude screaming out in my life.)
Mommy-ing, teaching littles at home and at school, have shown me so many things
- More often than not, I make judgments - and I'm confident of the righteousness of said judgments - without a clear or complete understanding.
- I have a hard time seeing how my words, my actions or what seems so clearly obvious and true to me, can be perceived totally differently (and often rightly) by somebody else.
- The more I think I know, clearly the more I need to humble myself to learn more.
I'm presently living two "situations" right now where I'm grudgingly thankful for the "humble-pie" on which I'm "dining.
One is much easier than the other (so I'll start with that one first).
In an effort to model teachability and encourage a more positive classroom climate, this past week one of my colleagues and I had "circle time" with her class. I led the time and our goal was to discuss the fact that we all have strengths and weaknesses and part of loving others means supporting and noticing others around us when they use their talents for the good of others... and lovingly confronting them when they refuse to work on their weaknesses and thus hurt others.
So, using myself as the model, I asked this group of students (early elementary aged) what they saw as my strengths and my weaknesses when I was with them, working with them, at school.
According to a group of six and seven year-old kids, they appreciate and know that I love them because I'm willing to draw near and help them with hard things, whether their problem is not getting some academic concept, not getting along (or worse) with a friend, not listening to their teachers or other authorities as they should, or not treating others like they want to be treated.
Can I pat myself on the back for that one?
Nope. Not yet. ...keep reading -
Then, they said I have two things on which I need to work:
1. Improving my ability to speak French
No surprise there... and we had a mini-lesson right then and there on how I should be pronouncing "Dieu" - which for this old, English-speaking tongue - well, "Ugh!" My attempts provoked much laughter and I felt like an idiot. I think I finally got it write twice. They all clapped! I smiled while silently nursing my pride.**
2. I need to give more hugs.
In other words, even though my attitude and my attention communicates clearly to them that I do love them, they need even more - especially when I'm working with them in a difficult moments. In all sincerity, my very young friends were able to tell me today that my biggest strength, the thing they appreciated most about me as a teacher - they appreciated not because I was consistently doing it well enough that they actually "felt" loved. Rather, because of God's grace and his work in their little hearts, they understood and accepted my intention even when my words and actions didn't clearly communicate the message.
Outta the mouths of babes.
The second situation is much more difficult for me to swallow.
Because I've unintentionally offended and hurt someone. In my confidence that I was acting rightly, I didn't consider that what I was doing could even be misconstrued. My lack of awareness of the other ways that those actions could be received, perceived and interpreted has been rather glaring. In this situation intentions just don't matter, and there is no way to undo damage done.
Next week, I will have the opportunity to apologize - in French, mind you (Remember, communicating in that language is not one of my strengths. Neither is humbling myself and publicly admitting error.)
And I get to do all of this in the presence of my boss. By God's grace (and me decreasing so that His presence in me increases), maybe forgiveness and a measure of reconciliation and healing will result. Maybe even restoration.
But I can't worry about the result at this moment. I can only pray that the Holy Spirit softens and gentles as I pray (and rehearse hundreds of times in my head) about the words I will say and the attitude I need.
As I've reflected and prayed about this, I'm so thankful for the following two truths.
I can be "confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1.6)
"...whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in a Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him ...Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
**Five minute time limit reached