Sunday, 1 March 2015

Arrogance, Pride, and... Humility

Photo taken by me, looking out across the Dunedin harbour

Philippians 2:3-11
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. ...

This blog post is about something I've been thinking about for quite a while. Please note, this is not terribly scientific because I don't really know a whole lot about this subject, but bear with me, because I think it's important stuff. Besides, it fascinates me. :)

Teaching styles. There are a million different ways to teach something. Let's take, for example, if I was asked to teach someone the seven colours of a rainbow so they wouldn't forget them. Here are just a few of the many ways you could do it.

1. Teach a mnemonic to aid memory- such as ROYGBIV (Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)
2. Make them write out the colours in order a hundred times until they have them memorised
3. Take them outside when there is a definite rainbow in the sky and show them the colours (for visual learners) - another option would be to use a picture, but showing a real rainbow would be better of course
4. Force them to repeat the different colours in order verbally until they have them memorised
5. Explain the colours, then explain the science behind why rainbows appear in the sky so they have some background knowledge
6. Record yourself speaking the colours in order over and over again, then put it on an audio device and make them listen to it until they have them memorised

Those are some ways that you could teach someone the colours of the rainbow. However, what I really wanted to talk about today was not the ways you can teach something, but HOW you teach something.

Yes, folks, there is a difference. :)

I am speaking from experience here. I have been taught many things over the years. Pretty much everything I know was either taught to me or I taught it to myself. I was taught how to swim, how to ride a bike, how to spell my name, how to do long division, when to say please and thank you, how to knit, how to sew, how to properly cut a loaf of hot bread.... boy oh boy, the list goes on and on!

Each of these things was taught to me in a different way. And in a different style.

Different people have taught me different things over my life. And I've found that some people make better teachers than others. It's all to do with how you teach something, not the way you teach it. 

Are you an arrogant teacher or a humble teacher?

Luke 14:11
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Let me tell you, friends, that it is MUCH easier and a better experience for everyone involved if you teach something humbly. I have been taught lots of things by lots of different people. Some people I would recommend as teachers. They come across as very compassionate, humble people who are teaching the thing to you not because they are better than you or more superior - but because they are interested in you and want you to excel in life. 

Other people I would not recommend as teachers. They come across as very arrogant, superior (even haughty) people. The whole time they are teaching whatever it is, they are giving a very negative impression of themselves and implying that they are very much better than you. 

These revelations and reflections have been on my mind recently, and I don't mind telling you that I am very embarrassed and disappointed in the way in which I myself have taught things to others. I am sure that I came across as arrogant. And I am truly trying to change. 

James 4:6
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 22:4
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.

Here's my question for you, friend. Are you an arrogant teacher or a humble teacher?

It's most definitely worth thinking about. 
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