Monday, October 03, 2005

Courage and Learning from Others

I learned alot from my mentor. One of the things that impressed me most about him was how he deferred to others when he wasn't the expert in a certain area. Some directors pretend that they know everything; to me that isn't an honest position. If I don't know something, I tell you, and so did Dr. Jordan.

There is a danger in that, of course. When the director admits that he/she doesn't know something, there is a chance that the members of the group project a "lack of knowledge in one area" to a broader "lack of knowledge in all areas."

To me, it is far more damning to pretend that you know something and found to be wrong later. Or, to just pretend to know all things--or pretend to be something that you are not.

I love the book of Proverbs. Lots of "wise man" sayings, and here is one:
Proverbs 9:8-10
Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

Here is the attitude I try to model:
1. What I know, I try to teach/project with humble confidence
2. What I am not sure about, I leave room for doubt and time for verification

In our rehearsals this week, I encourage you to work together for the good of the group! If you see someone who needs help, help them. If you are a leader in your section and need to correct someone, do it with incredible respect--the way that you would want to be treated. If someone corrects you, thank them. If you disagree over the matter, come to me.

Is it possible, in this day and time of strong egos, for us to be the kind of group that efficiently and lovingly works out problems?


Suzanne Scivley said...

Philip! This is so true. On the first day of school, I tell my students that "I don't know" is an honest answer that they will hear - from me, their teacher.

The next thing I tell them is this: "When you figure it out, I expect you to teach it to me."

I have learned MUCH more from my students than they have learned from me.

Holly Jean said...

I've always had a lot more respect for people who say a simple "I don't know," than those that make up answers on the spot. Particularly in academia. I think this post says something very very important.

Alex & Laura Beth said...

What a great post! I am so glad Dr. Jordan modeled this for you, and you in turn are modeling it for your students!

I really miss you guys...