In 1995 I began my professional career as an Educator. I was thrown into a class, mid-year, with a bunch of eight grade students who were considered to be on the verge of dropping out of school–as a matter of fact, the program in which I served was referred to as the Dropout Prevention Program. I was given twenty-five students in a self-contained class, with the challenge of making considerable and measurable progress, both academically and behaviorally, by the year’s end. Needless to say, this was an enormous challenge, but the students and I were able to bond as a family unit and make it through the year with notable success. I went on to teach in the same capacity for another four years.
Those five years as a classroom teacher were very meaningful and rewarding. The success I experienced with those students catapulted me to greater endeavors that I could have never imagined. The next five years were filled with a myriad of growth opportunities in training, coaching and administration. The success I experienced was attributed to a number of mentors who freely offered a wealth of knowledge and practical experience, a lot of long hours and hard work, and God’s unmerited favor. I was blessed progress rapidly through the system.
But, there was one experience I will never forget. I found myself working with a supervisor who believed that promotion was achieved by “brown-nosing” and not on merit. Subordinates reporting to her would often say me, “you’ve got to kiss-up, to move up.” While this was often said in jest, I found it to be a foundational reality to my supervisor. Often, I would be asked to perform duties that were, in my opinion, unethical and unprofessional, and when I respectfully declined, it was considered to be an act of rebellion. My peers wondered why I wouldn’t acquiesce to the established “brown-nosing” culture of the institution, and two things would always come to mind 1) I could never see myself kissing someone’s behind during the day, and going home every evening to kiss my wife on the lips; and 2) I continued to meditate on Proverbs 10:9: He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known.
Christians must always be cognizant of the tricks of the world that are designed to break our Faith and to succumb to that which is commonly en vogue. I encourage you to hold fast and be strong. Prior to retiring for the night, be sure to look in the mirror to check the color of your nose.