February 2, 2017

I remember years ago being told the story of a male school teacher who had back surgery over the summer and began the school year wearing a solid plastic cast around the upper part of his body. It fit under his shirt and was not noticeable at all. On the first day of school, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible and then busied himself with desk work. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took the desk stapler, in full view of the students, and stapled the tie to his chest. Needless to say, he had no disciple problems that year. I can imagine being one of his student and sitting in awe of him. That sense enables one to practice reverence because it changes the way we see someone.

I had a similar experience when I was teaching. Those who know me, know that I love SPICY foods; the spicier the better. On the first day of the semester, a colleague of mine came into my classroom shortly before class was going to begin. She had picked up a bottle of habanero hot sauce from Mexico. I so wanted to smell it, or at least taste it, but I could not get the bottle opened. I asked if someone could help me and one of the toughest guys in the class, who wanted to show off his muscles, said he would help me if I would drink it. He had no clue who he was talking to. So he opened the bottle and I took several sips, enough to make him walk away saying “I ain’t messing with you Dr J.” From that point forward everyone treated me with the utmost respect.

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