Early in my life, I found an affinity for following the rules. I was able to win over many of my elementary teachers just by following what they asked of me. Yes, I was that annoying student who normally tried to please the teacher in any way I could short of bringing an apple to them every day. I craved the structure that I had while at school. Of course, like any kid, I had a lot of fun, but usually only when I was supposed to.
Later in my high school years, I found that I had a natural aptitude for working with drawing straight lines and measuring objects. In fact, I thought I had found my life’s work at age fifteen. I was introduced to the work of architecture. Interesting enough, was the fact that my drafting teacher was quite possibly the most difficult teacher I had ever tried to please.
If we made a mistake or said something stupid, he would call us on it. I can remember him saying a few times, “ I am going to dust your a– with an eraser,” at which he would throw a chalkboard eraser our way. He was a great teacher, although his methods were a little rough at times. He was never criticized for it, because he had results. Our class was often recognized at the yearly drafting competition held by VICA, or the Vocational Industrial Club of America. Each year, he would allow the seniors to participate in this competition. It was an epic event for all of us. It could bring the recognition and respect that we all so desired to receive from our teacher. It was split into three hours on the drafting board and three hours on the computer. We were judged by architects in the area on our neatness, accuracy, and overall style.
A long story short, I went through the competition with around twenty other students from around the state. I was going up against my friends and many others. I was nervous, I felt as though I had no chance of winning, but I decided to give my best.
At the end of our session, I remember feeling relieved that it was over with. I was honestly shocked when I arrived back at school in the following days and my teacher announced to all of us that our school had placed three people that year from my group. I had placed second in architecture and I was shocked. My hard work had paid off and my teacher was truly proud of me. I think he may have even shed a little tear (or a smile for me). From that moment on, I respected him a little more each day.
As life would have it, I never finished by Bachelor’s in Architecture, because the Lord had other plans. Many of my friends from that class are successful architects now.
I do not regret that time much at all, yet I do regret the fact that I excelled for all the wrong reasons.I did it to please my teacher.
As I have grown older and begun to work on my people-pleasing ways, I am learning to become a person who tries to please God and no one else. I am breaking daily my need to have the approval of others, and rely on the approval that Jesus gives me daily. Sometimes even in our successes, we are allowed to see the failures that Christ is redeeming in us.