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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sitting up straight, feet both planted

Back in the day, when learning how to type in one of my high school classrooms, I remember having to bring this list of supplies to the class.  We had to buy a ream of white typing paper (not the kind you put through the copy machine, but the real stuff), a pack of carbon paper (something most kids today have no idea about), and a couple of special erasers with the little brush on the end to correct any mistakes you'd make.  One of the rules we learned was how to handle the "erasures" or "corrections".  If we scrubbed too hard with the eraser, we'd make a hole in the paper.  Too inadequately and we'd have a tell-tale correction.  Then there was this whole rule about not allowing all those eraser "flakes" to fall into the typewriter.  Trust me - I was glad when they invented white-out!  I became a good typist pretty quickly and this was probably because dad had an old manual typewriter I could practice on at home. Yet, no matter how "good" I became, I made mistakes which required correction.  Not only in where the fingers hit the keys causing key-strike type errors, but in my posture!  The teacher would come up behind me, put her fingers between my shoulder blades and poke.  Why?  I was supposed to have excellent posture - somehow making me type with proficiency and speed!  Then there was this rule I was frequently corrected on - the one about keeping both feet on the ground while you type - as though the stability this gave would keep the typewriter and you firmly planted on good old terra-firma!  Despite all the correcting in my three years of office machine classes, guess how my feet are today.  You got it - crossed, lazily slung under the desk - and my posture isn't much better!  The "correction" just didn't "stick".  Sometimes we are like that - we just don't understand or accept the value in the correction, so we don't "stay corrected".

Some people refuse to bend when someone corrects them. Eventually they will break, and there will be no one to repair the damage. (Proverbs 29:1 ERV)

It probably doesn't matter a hill of beans that my "typing posture" is poor these days (even though my typing teacher is probably rolling over in her grave).  It probably doesn't improve my typing for me to sit up straight and firmly plant the feet on the ground - but on occasion I still find myself "correcting" my posture as I remember the "rules" I was taught.  It just doesn't stay "fixed".  It does matter when I cut corners in my relationships, getting sloppy in my "posture" I assume within them.  It does matter when I don't see the value in listening to the still, small voice prompting me to avoid some hazard in my life. It does matter when I refuse to listen to the sage counsel of a good friend who is really looking out for my best interest when advice is offered.  Some correction is just meant to "stick" and to have this "teflon-experience" where it really matters is just not going to cut it in the long run.

The saddest part of refusing correction, or thinking it just won't make any difference to do something a different way, is that we miss out on things we just don't realize we miss.  It is like when I saw this viral video about a guy on his sailboat out in the ocean, focusing so intently on what was on his smart phone that he missed the whales breaching right in front of him.  Now, mind you, I may not be this "unconscious" of my typing posture, but it is close to that at times!  One day we may be so caught up in what seems important at the moment and miss the stuff which really matters.  This is the danger of not receiving the "little corrections" along the way.  In the course of time, the little corrections rejected become the big mistakes made!

To refuse correction is a dangerous place to find oneself occupying.  It is like being in the territory of an hungry alligator with nothing more than a bag of dried peas and a large straw.  You might be able to propel a few peas toward the this hungry beast, but all you are doing is annoying the heck out of it! Eventually all your best effort to ward off its attack will be for naught.  The thing will likely rise up and do you some serious harm!  Things we refuse to correct in life are kind of like the hungry alligator in our lives - they will eventually get the upper hand.  When they do, it is sometimes the hardest thing to walk away from "unaffected".  Most of the time we suffer significant injury or loss.

If we want to refuse to heed advice and counsel, we must be prepared for the consequences which will come.  Sometimes the smallest of corrections gets us a whole lot closer to ending up where we wanted to be in life than refusing these small corrections.  It is much easier to correct things before they become habit, but it isn't impossible to make those corrections of a habit - it just takes a little more effort and determination.  Just sayin!