In a few hours, Lord willing, I will be conducting a brief segment of a daylong training for teachers. This is not a new experience for me; I’ve been doing similar things for nearly thirty years. What is different now is the way I approach such events.
For years my preparation including praying that I would do a good job, that people would like and enjoy the presentations, that things would go well, etc. Frankly, I prayed that I would put on a good performance that would have some good results. If I had the courage to be completely honest, I’d probably admit that it was more important to me to be impressive than it was to be worthwhile.
That approach changed a few years back when I was preparing for a workshop in the same Kansas town where I expect to be today. The night before the session, I started my prayer, “Lord, help me to do a good job tomorrow…” but then hesitated for a short while. Something clicked inside me, something shifted me from thinking about me to thinking about the participants. I have to admit I was a bit bewildered by the change. After a bit of quiet contemplation, I resumed my prayer.
“Lord, help me to be a blessing to these teachers tomorrow.” After another pause, I added, “Help me to bless their students by being a blessing to their teachers.”
The change in my prayer approach hasn’t resulted in me thinking I am now God’s gift to teachers. It hasn’t made me rich nor brought me a flood of accolades. What it has done is given me more peace before, during and after the trainings. And it may, possibly, have added at least a tiny hint of humility in my approach. Or maybe it’s just slightly reduced the arrogance. Either is a good change.
And if, in the process, more teachers have found more ideas to use in their classrooms, ideas that help them communicate more effectively, provide activities that are more engaging and present learning events that help more students learn more things that are worth learning, well, then, I have been the blessing that I have wanted the Lord to make me to be.