It’s Easter week – the week that made all the difference for the colleague/friend beside you, in front of you, — each one of us in this room. The week holding the ultimate eternal implication is also why we sit here tonight with divinely implanted, unique gifts and skills yet bonded–bonded by a shared love and deep commitment to follow the one who died for us and then rose.
I guess now would be a good time to confess that when I first began college teaching I had no idea what I was doing. I taught my first classes as a missionary in a tiny Colombian Bible institute in the mid-‘80s and then stepped up to “real” teaching in the early ‘90s during my doctoral fellowship.
Happy New Year! Now that most of the wrapping paper has been recycled, the ornaments put back in the attic, and Aunt Mable’s fruitcake is almost finished, it’s time to welcome in a brand new fresh-out-of-the-box year. Our ritual ceremony often includes a bunch of empty promises to our families, our doctors, and our ministers. They usually don’t mean that much, but they could. These solemn oaths to reform our ways and change our habits are often abandoned quicker than swing set assembly directions. Like these directions, the pictures on the cardboard box of our intentions are beautiful. But as the fine print under the picture cautions, “some assembly is required.” In the unlikely event that you didn’t get a box of intentions under the tree this year, I would like to offer you some of mine. I found these words and thoughts lying around and put together 10 homemade wishes. They are still a little rough around the edges, but I bet you can make them fit. If there are any parts left over, find some kind of use for them. All I had to go on was the finished picture on the box. Unfortunately, the directions for how to make this stuff work are not included.
“You’re an awesome teacher, and I’ve learned so much from you, and I’ll never forget all you’ve taught me…but I want to change voice teachers.”
Some of the very best, most dedicated applied voice teachers have heard this, or some variation thereof, from a student at one time or another. Caution!!! Do not ask the student, “Why?” because it never turns out well. It only goes downhill from there. Once when I couldn’t believe my ears and dared to ask “Why?” I was told by the “wise beyond his years” student that he “wanted to take from someone who understood the voice better.” Yep. It went downhill fast!
The other day the woman mowing my head with a number 6 clipper asked me where I worked. That’s quite an assumption (I thought) given today’s economy and given she had never seen me before… and given the color of my hair…but I told her. She followed up with a question I’ve heard countless times: “What do you teach?” I responded, as I have countless times: “I teach French.” And, as many others before her, she went on to tell me of her youthful foray into learning an additional language a number of years previous, and of its unsuccessful outcome. “I don’t remember a thing,” she said.