Thursday, September 10, 2015

Clothes Make The Man

TOP: Me in coaching gear
BOTTOM: Me in teaching mode

This probably needs a little background material to get it going. Last November, I wrote about Isabel, the daughter of Kristina, one of our WCS lower school aides. Isabel thinks, and I kid you not, that I am Houston Texans mega star J.J. Watt. A year later, and almost five, she still does. Today I was standing in the cafeteria serving line when Isabel's class marched past, on their way to gym or art, I suppose. Isabel told anyone who might be listening that I was J. J. Watt. Miss Toya, one of our SAGE Dining staff and probably the most popular WCS employee, laughed and I explained. There was a third party to our conversation, our new head chef, Sherell. She took over for Jay (whose wife just had a little girl!) when Jay took over as manager when Tony moved to another private school here in Houston. As we were speaking, Sherell said she didn't want to cut me off but she had something to tell me. And she proceeded to let me know she had just figured out who I was. Let me explain a little further.

We are only twenty days or so in to the school year but I am already into routine mode. Each morning at 6:45 AM, I enter the school and go directly to our girls' locker room and then the cafeteria. My first task of the day is to fill up the POWERADE  bottles with ice water for our basketball practice which starts at 7:40 with the beginning of the school day. Our ice machine is in the kitchen so I make small talk with our SAGE team who already has lunch in the works while I go about my business. When I come to school, I'm dressed in coaching gear; ADIDAS shorts, t-shirt, running shoes. BUT, when I come back through for lunch at 11:00 AM, I am dressed professionally, in clothes picked out by my teacher aide, Miss My Ngo; oxford dress shirt, tie, dress khakis, dress shoes, school name tag. And that's what Sherell disclosed; she had just figured out that I was the same guy who comes in and gets ice every morning. The only thing different is how I presented myself. 

To someone who knows me, the thought that Sherell didn't make the connection between the coaching me and the teaching me might seem silly, even sillier that Isabel believing I am a football hero. But we are still almost strangers. And yet my students readily admit they act and speak differently depending on their audience. We had a terrific presentation today by Eric Tooley to our 8th-12th grades on the correlation between social media and The Ten Commandments. One thing he stressed is how we present ourselves on the web is telling about our relationship to God. (Eric showed the hilarious ad with the cute girl with the ugly boyfriend who was a French model and she knew it was true because they met on the Internet.) I'm not speaking of speaking formal in a formal setting versus being relaxed in a casual setting. If I'm humble and God fearing in one setting and edgy and crude in another, I'm sending a mixed message the world will note and judge me for. Clothes don't make me or you who we are but maybe they can confuse others. I can't do the same with my character. Jesus told believers we are the light of the world. A good light is constant and consistent. I must make sure mine isn't merely flickering. I want people to know whose I am.

Applicable quote of the day:
God bless,
Luke 18:1
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