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Are You a Skunk or a Saint?

I attended a luncheon recently and listened to a guest tell me no fewer than five times that he was "in commercial real estate".  Then I found myself in another setting, this time with educators plus one former businessman.  The corporate fellow felt the need to continually remind everyone about how "we do it in the corporate world".

I see this phenomenon quite often.  Call it business snobbery or whatever but it seems that the folks from corporate enjoy educating even educators about "how we do it in the corporate world".

Abraham Lincoln once said, "What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself."  In other words, when you draw attention to yourself, it results in the opposite of what the person had hoped for.  Rather than puff someone up, it actually makes the person look silly.  So you have your MBA.  Should we be impressed with that?

You don't need to remind people about your role.  If you have ten kids, people don't need to hear that every ten minutes even if it's obviously an impressive accomplishment.  If you are the CEO of a company, do we really need to wear that badge on our sleeve?  If you are the principal of a school, do you need to show that off to others when you're in a meeting.

I often feel uncomfortable when people ask me what I do.  Rather than drawing attention to myself and telling folks that I'm the president of a high school, I often keep it bland and say that I'm an administrator or that I teach.  If someone pressed me, I would of course share what my role is but my ego doesn't need to get massaged by someone else's reaction to my title.  My wife, God bless her in her wisdom, is the first to remind me that I'm not the president when I'm at home, changing diapers or mowing the lawn.

Think less like a skunk and more like Chesterton who said "It is always the secure who are humble."  You are not your role or your job or your list of accomplishments.   You are secure in so far as you can remind yourself that God is at the center of who we are as faith people.

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