Saturday, May 14, 2016

Today is a New Day...


        This is the day the Lord has made;
         let us rejoice and be glad in it!
                                     -Psalm 118:24

It's Saturday. Thank you dear Lord that it is Saturday. I am rejoicing and being glad in this day!!!

This has been quite a week with putting on a conference for over 1600 people. A conference that was six months in the planning. A student-led conference. The topic was: 
Intercultural Communication: Bridging the Gap Between Cultures. 

Let me back up just a bit. This is year number 49 for me as a teacher, 39 of those at the college level. I love my job, adore my students and have worked tirelessly to provide vibrant and exciting and thought-provoking experiences for my students. I'm a believer in experiential education. The kind of education that is not just about memorize and regurgitate, but rather get in, learn about it, live with it, do it.

For example, this quarter I am teaching a Business and Professional Communication class. There is lots of theory involved- norms, building a personal mission statement, leadership development, team building, the ten top business and professional communication skills, conflict management and more. I do teach these principles, but I also take it to the next step.

This class puts these principles into practice by putting on a conference for our college. The students pick the theme, select speakers, do all of the internal and external marketing, do facility design, do hospitality (select food, order food, greet participants), technology work (create a video to show at the conference). They dress professionally, as if they were going to be interviewed, and meet and greet the guests coming to the conference. They take ownership in the conference because it is their conference. 

What we have also done for the last several months is pray and pray about how to do this topic of diversity as God would want. To let the words of our mouth be acceptable in His sight. Praying for empathy and compassion and wisdom. This is a hot-toic right now.
Perhaps that's an understatement.

The learnings are profound.

Especially this week.

The topic of diversity and cultural gaps is all over the news. It's in the political debate of certain candidates. It is in the relationship between the black community and law enforcement. It is in the paper and on television and on the internet.

The keynote speaker, plus four separate workshops of which I took part in one of them, tackled this tough topic from many directions. There were courageous conversations between Muslim and Christian students, between African American students and caucasian students, between older students and younger students. We started to look at our stereotypes, our biasses, and our assumptions about each other. A small start, mind you, but a start nevertheless.

It wasn't easy. It wasn't always pretty. But it's a start in "loving one another as I have loved you." It's a start in "love your neighbor as yourself."

It's a start.

The Conference was on Wednesday, and the post-conference activities were on Thursday and Friday. On Friday a sea of students came to my classroom, or saw me in the hall. One Muslim student said, "Thank you. I have felt so alone here, so misunderstood." She cried and I cried.

And today is Saturday.

Thank you God for this Saturday and a good night's rest. As my Grandma used to say, "I am bone weary." Yet I feel peaceful that we followed God's lead and made a start toward reconciliation and understanding. I am thanking God over and over again for every tiny step that we took toward one another. We made a start toward understanding each other better.

Not a huge start, but a start.

And tonight is prom night for our amazing Granddaughter,
Glory Sihin, who felt it important to wear a prom dress that was a bit modest.

Not always easy to find in 2016.

Bless her heart, I love that girl.

May you have a blessed Saturday too!
May you rejoice and be glad in it, no matter what comes your way.
And to that I say...Amen and AMEN!!!

Love, hugs, and prayers!


Vicky said...

You are so clearly, and profoundly, living your legacy! By example, you are creating a hands-on learning experience that will undoubtedly help build a set of skills within your students that will serve them well- not just in their future careers, but in life! I wish I could come and be a part of an experience just like this!! I'm so proud of you! The enormous amount of planning, organizing, teaching, and balancing of so much that it must take you is truly astonishing!! You are a shining example of who I endeavor to be- and have undoubtedly inspired so many others! I love you friend- all the way to the moon- and back!!

Jackie said...

Your students are blessed to have you as their teacher. I have always believed that teaching is a work of heart....and I can see that you believe that too
Continue to rest this weekend. Enjoy every moment.
Paul and I are in NC for a while.
We are enjoying quiet time together.
Sending love,

Finding Comfort in Kindness...sharing from the heart

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