a blog for teachers who follow the Master Teacher
I’ve gotten myself in trouble more than once for not engaging in the world into which I’ve been sent. One time happened in Northeast India when a friend and colleague asked if I’d read a novel that was making waves. I spoke loftily of not polluting my mind. “But, Melissa,” she chided, “how can we speak truth if we don’t understand what isn’t.”
I came home to China and read the book. Most of it anyway. Then, when the movie came out, I helped students and colleagues sort fact from fiction. A few years later when a different movie got everyone talking, I watched it even though I don’t like disaster movies. People actually asked me—as if I were an expert—about the end of the world.
A second time I got in trouble, a colleague asked about a court battle in the U.S. that had attracted attention over here. To this day, I regret my uninformed response that gave him the wrong impression. And from that day, I’ve been motivated not only to read the news regularly but also from a variety of sources with differing viewpoints.
Experience, mine and others, has also taught me about engaging in the world. A former neighbor (an American) made quite an impression on her students with her knowledge of Chinese pop stars. She could even sing their songs at karaoke parties—well!—AND she enjoyed it.
Not long ago, an airplane carrying mostly Chinese passengers disappeared around the same time as a terrorist attack inside this country. Often it’s wiser here to let certain topics lie, but this time I brought them up because the news disturbed me too. As one colleague expressed, “It’s like watching a horror movie about another place except it’s real and it’s our country.” To enter into their mourning and fear was a privilege. To bring all before the throne was an honor.
I don’t have any advice for how you should or shouldn’t “pollute” your mind or spend your time. I read widely, but certain books (and movies) will never cross the threshold of my mind. And I will never become a karaoke singer of Chinese pop songs…or any song, to be truthful. How you engage in the world is between you and the Master and based on how He sends you.
However, when we do enter in, we may need some communication skills. Here are a couple of things that might improve our engagement fluency.
In the classroom and teacher’s office (karaoke bar too…and on social media), we’re not representatives of a way of life, viewpoint, or country. We’re ambassadors of the Master Teacher. Above all, may we be one with Him as He is with His Father.