May your words benefit those who listen

30 08 2010

I advise the yearbook program where I teach.  Our 2009-2010 yearbooks were distributed last week.  I am so proud of my students who worked all year and into the summer to create this memory book for our school.   I had been riding a wave of elation and relief that all is well in the land of yearbook.  At least until the next morning when I received a short, but pointed email from one mother.  It only took a few words from her to crush my spirit (temporarily).

What was our transgression?  We spelled her child’s name wrong in one place in the yearbook.  To my knowledge, it’s correct everywhere else.

This mother commented that someone should “at least proofread the names.”  Well, we do.  At least three sets of eyes see every page—the student who created the page, myself, and one other adult in the school proofs every single page before it goes to print.  I am always amazed that errors like a misspelled name slip through our editing process, but they do. 

I really wish parents, students, teachers—anyone really—would understand that we are only human.  The last time I checked, humans make mistakes.  In a 240 page book featuring approximately 5,000 pictures and over 1,000 individual names that was created by a group of high school students, there are bound to be a few mistakes.  All I can do at this point is apologize and pray that those we’ve unintentionally wronged will show us grace, understanding, and forgiveness.

I readily admit I have long struggled with being too quick to judge and too slow to forgive.  This job as yearbook advisor has taught me I need to show more grace.  I have grown a lot in this area in the past few years, but every day I must continue to do better.

This job has also reinforced to me the power of words.  Ephesians 4:29 is one of my favorite (and most convicting) scriptures:  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  While the email I received last week wasn’t unwholesome by any means, I wonder if the mother considered how her words would be helpful or beneficial to me or my students on the yearbook staff.  I was saddened, embarrassed, and angered by the few words she emailed to me.  I pray I never have the same affect on anyone God places in my path.

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4 responses

2 09 2010
miceliale

I know how you feel Mrs. Huddleston. Even professional newspapers and publications have typos, but whenever I see a grammar error on a newspaper article or poem in the lit mag (already published!) I have to cringe and hope no one makes a big deal out of it.

6 09 2010
chasemor

That’s too bad. It really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me, so don’t let it get to you 🙂 You all did a great job with the yearbook.

6 09 2010
huddlestonk

Thanks Morgan! I get comments like that every year. It’s just a (sad) part of the job. I’m able to let it all slide (eventually).

12 09 2010
Regan Josten

A pal sent this link the other day and I am eagerly looking your next piece of writing. Carry on on the fantastic work.

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