I have to admit that I was entertained. One of my colleagues from the university posted on social media about an email exchange between him and one of his undergraduate students. In succinct form, he told how he had instructed the student on the need for him to address professors with their earned title, rather than their first name.
Now, I have an opinion on all of this and a preference, but I was genuinely interested in the responses. I found there was a mixture of everything from “I earned my doctorate and you will call me Dr.” to “I prefer you address me by my first name.” And what was extremely interesting to me was the fact that all of the positions were accompanied somewhere in the reply line by valid reasons for the position. “Valid,” meaning trustworthy, of value, supportable.
That was extremely interesting because, as I mentioned, I have a very clear position on all of this. Sort of. Generally, I tell my students — and others — what my preference is and then I let them do whatever makes them feel comfortable. So some call me “Dr.” (even though that is only appropriate in an academic setting when you have a juris doctorate), some call me “Professor,” some call me “Mr.,” while still others call me “Joey.”
All those names are good. I answer to them. In fact, I answer to just about anything due to some hearing loss and tinnitus.
But I long to be called by another name. And that’s one that can’t be set or earned by me. I have to grow into it.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9
For some time, I’ve been holding on to some expectations. I’m releasing a few of them as of today.
[Photo Credit: Artists in Christian Testimony Int’l]
When we coach people in leadership, we urge them to set expectations for their followers and to patiently assist them in owning those expectations. Sometimes what we fail to tell our leaders is that, after a measured degree of diligence, it’s okay to let those expectations go and to stop setting themselves up for disappointment.
And, if the leader’s heart is right, it’s okay to kindly, but firmly move on.
Moving on could mean a lot of different things. But when that time comes, the leader must own the consequences — both bad and good.
Are you facing an expectation that appears hopeless? Have you done all you know to do to help?
Then let go. And smile. You’re free of that one. It’s time to plant a new seed in fertile ground.
What if you only had 10 minutes to share the most important message of your life?
What words would you choose?
How would you cut through and set aside all of those badly chosen words that have stacked up over a lifetime?
Where would your heart need to be to bring that message?
Where would your courage come from?
What if the message wasn’t received well?
Take the 10 minutes.
Choose the words now.
Take responsibility for the badly chosen words.
Open your heart.
Reach deep within for the courage.
Trust God to translate in His good time.
For most of my years, my mornings have begun before my alarm goes off. And almost every one of those mornings, Dad’s words for success would ring clear as if he was right there.
“The true key to doing well is putting your feet firmly on the floor before your alarm goes off every morning.”
Those were words he shared during the relatively few times that I worked for him in the highway construction business. We needed to be away from the house before dark and on the job by daybreak. And ready to last the day — often until the sun went down.
Through the years, as I reach to turn off the alarm that hasn’t sounded, I wonder why this life of work was so valued — so prized — by my dad. My father never had a grand view of who he was. He was just Joe. Mr. Joe to many of his workers. Eventually Papa Joe to young people — including my sons and my granddaughter. He just put his feet firmly on the floor every morning and did what he could do. But he was a giant and a saint and an encourager. A man who others wanted to be around and to have around when things needed to be done.
And I’m convinced he was who he was because he believed a simple truth: We should take full advantage of every day that God gives us.
And that belief is how we change the world. No grand schemes. No crowd-funding. No hype. Feet on the floor. Showing up. Doing what we can do. Making full use of God’s day.
Things have changed as I’ve become older. Now, instead of waking up just moments before my alarm sounds, it’s often an hour. I don’t know if Dad’s legacy has left me convinced that I need more time to do what I can do or if it’s just the normal nocturnal churnings of an aging body. But lately, I’ve been eager to get my feet firmly on the floor. I’ve been given another day.