Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Sticking To Your Beliefs



It is always amazing to me how you can never know the impact of your words & actions. Of course this can be positive or negative of course. I felt so wonderful when Nat mentioned on his journal entry "Sticking Up For Your Beliefs" how he found my entry on "Anne Frank & David Faber" inspiring to him. It was especially nice to hear, since I was a bit weak on this issue in the last couple of days. Gave me a very nice reminder! It also reminded me of one of the experience in my life, which inspired me to stick to my beliefs. I commented on Nat's entry this particular story & I thought I would share it with others who happen to check out my thoughts here.

I was in graduate school for the 2nd time in my life. About 4 years after receiving my Masters I decided to go work on my PhD. While at Mississippi State University, I met the lovely southern gentleman I mentioned in my entry on Inspiring Teachers John had us do. Dr. A. is one of my favorite people in the world!! He taught me much more than technology. I am very blessed to have had his spirit touch mine. He is just amazing! Can you tell I like the man! Ha! His middle name should be Motivation! :-) The man somehow can tell at the slightest tinge of doubt starting in me. He just goes "Hey", "No" before I even realize I'm even starting to feel that way.

The one story, among many with him, I wanted to share with you was of a day my classmates & I were scheduled to discuss a technology plan rubric with the author via conference call. Before the phone call, Dr. A. asked if we had any questions or comments of the rubric. Of course there are very few times I don't have something to say! Ha! Well even if it is to say I do like something, but if there is something I do not agree with, then I do like to discuss it to see what others think. I had mentioned that I was very concerned about the last cell of the rubric which suggested total reliance on technology. I had chills through me when I read it. The Ghost of Hal from the movie 2001 came to mind...."Good Morning Dave!" Eeeks! I mentioned this & before Dr. A. could say anything the whole class descended upon me! They were quite loud & critical of my comment. Now that will not always shrink me typically, but that particular day I must have been a bit weak. I just was quiet & my inner voice said "Ok, this should teach you not to open your big mouth!" Not that it would have but....

Now Dr. A. is a very patient, quiet southern man, though very passionate about what he believes in. He just let this happen & observed. When the students were all done with their comments he placed the conference call & made the introductions. He then asked if anyone had any questions. NO! I didn't open my mouth! No one else really did either. This is why I usually do ask questions & make comments! Ha! Well, Dr. A. is a sly little fox! He chirped in himself & said, we have a student here who believes the last cell of the rubric is a bit too strong & should be changed. I think I shrank more in my seat. Without looking I could see my classmates grinning & looking at each other like, she going to get it from the author now!

What happened next I will never forget, at least I hope I won't. I thought "this is it, I will be humiliated." I was feeling the heat radiate in my face from embarrassment and a bit of anger for Dr. A mentioning my critical comment. I didn't give him permission! Read this like Ralphie narrating his school adventures in the movie The Christmas Story! :-) All of a sudden I stopped shrinking. I was like "What? What is he saying?" The author's reply was "This is the one aspect of my rubric I have had the most critical comments about from around the world & I have already made the changes to it." Could this be? I was right & all my classmates were wrong? But I was the only one who thought this. There were so many who had the opposite view I had. I felt my facial expression change & I really had to try not to smile. It felt good but it certainly was not about being right and I didn't want to just do to my classmates what they had done to me. I didn't even look at them to make any indication of an "I told you so" attitude. I just listened & let my inner voice hear the message. The message was,

"Even though you may be the ONLY ONE who believes something, it does not mean you are necessarily wrong!"

Wow, what a lesson.  Dr. A. knew what I had said was more on target and may have been surprised I did not defend my position as I should have. He wanted to make sure my comment did get mentioned so that I, and my classmates, would know what was indeed the answer, but he also taught me much more that day. A cell on a particular rubric will not influence me in my life as much as this lesson of "Sticking To Your Beliefs" unless there is a darn good reason to change. Somehow I think he wanted to remind me of this also!

I hope sharing this story with you will make you think when you are the only one who believes something. It does not mean you are always right but listen and make sure there is a convincing reason to change. If there is then there is no harm in changing your mind...and it is not just a woman's prerogative! :-)

3 comments:

edandmariann said...

Deb,
   Wow, a true intellect.  I just wish your words were a bit larger for my bad eyes.  Font 12 on up is good.  Lol!  I actually had to put my glasses on.  I hate them.  haha.  They make a spectacle out of me.  Ha!  But your writing got me to put them on because it is an awesome journal from what I see so far.  That is a big compliment believe it or not.  lol  I really loved and agree with this post.  I will be back to read more every chance I get.  Good luck in school, and life.  I hope the cast isn't being too hard on you.  
Love,
Mariann

lurkynat said...

Dear Deborah,
That story touches me in unexpexted ways... you see it is about me as well in grad school!
Thanks! nat

sierrajazz said...

I actually HATE debating, and usually don't share my opinon when it differs with the majority.  It doesn't mean I change what I believe or how I feel about something... I just don't usually share it, since I am terrible at verbal combat or justifying my beliefs.  It is something I am trying to push myself through and get stronger at.  Journaling is a great way for me to practice being more outspoken, since I don't have to do it face to face... lol. One step at a time.