Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Humanity 101

When I was in high school I was absolutely terrible at math...or so I thought. I had a really hard time grasping the equations and principles behind Algebra and Trigonometry. While I excelled in all of my other classes, math was one subject that I was a regular C or C- student. It really bothered me because I just couldn't understand how I couldn't perform better in math. I studied hard and asked for help, but I never did well in math. In fact, I was so poor in math that when I got into college at James Madison University I had to take a remedial math course my freshman year. I felt embarrassed and inadequate. However, something funny happened in that remedial math course...I actually started to like and do really well at math!

Why? I had a professor who cared greatly about each student in that class. She made time for each of us and even developed a partner math system where we worked with a fellow classmate on equations each day. She was kind and caring. Our professor just had this way about her that was so humbling to be around. I never felt stupid about doing math in front of my remedial math professor in college. She corrected our mistakes with a great sense of understanding and gentleness. She praised us when we did really well on tests. As my confidence grew and my study habits were refined guess what happened? I got significantly better at math! I received my first A in math ever my freshman year of college. And why? Because my professor cared so much about my well being as a student. She didn't throw around her credentials and focus on how much research she was doing. She didn't post office hours and then not show up. She just demonstrated the kind of humanity that was necessary to help elevate the self-esteem of some young and impressionable remedial math students.

When I think about all of the people in my life that I am grateful for they always have the same sense of kindness and humility that astounds me. Each of these people have taught me that it is never about the knowledge or status that you have in life, but more than anything it is about the level of care and love you provide to others. People don't always need theories and scientific principles to heal them. While I think those things are good, I believe more often than not people are just looking for other people to love and believe in them. Our pastor at Central Christian Church here in Las Vegas said it best, "If you love others you will have a wonderfully rewarding life and if you just spend all your time loving yourself then you will have a very empty life."

Sometimes a person just needs a warm and reassuring hug and kind words to feel right. I honestly don't think people need much to be happy in life. Sometimes we just complicate things instead of doing the simplest things well. We try to be too smart or too legalistic in our approach towards others. I don't believe that works most of the time. While I certainly believe in rules and expectations, I first and foremost believe in bonding with others. When I come into my job each day and work with my staff I always focus on meeting their basic human needs first before their job needs. I have showed them how to do their job. That's an automatic thing at this point. My focus is on empowering them to make good decisions, caring about them when they are going through tough times, celebrating their accomplishments, laughing with them and so much more that has nothing to do with the X's and O's of their job.

In short...I try to love them as much as I can...just like my remedial math professor did for me and a bunch of other students in that class. I am so thankful for that.

I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and may this holiday season provide you with lots of love and laughter.

Until next time...

Dr. D

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