REPOST from March 2011.
If you’ve read my “ABOUT” section then you already know of my getting kicked out of journalism class my junior year in high school. If you had any doubt about my youthful ignorance from that year I’ll share another story that should remove any lingering doubt… The dreaded F.
Right across the hall from my journalism class was my art class. I’d taken art as an elective my freshman and sophomore years which qualified me to take commercial art my junior year.
We had an amazing teacher named Mr. Parker. The class was advanced and other advanced kids from within the school district were allowed to attend Mr. Parker’s classes and receive credits at their school.
There was an event called the World Of Wheels held at the Civic Center downtown, it was a pretty big deal in those days. The schools had a contest at the event in which a local car dealership brought new white vans to the event and the schools art classes would paint murals on the vans.
I wasn’t close to being the most talented kid participating from our class. In truth there were wildly talented kids who became even better under the tutelage of Mr. Parker.
There was about six of us including my friend Beth representing supposedly the best of the district since we were fortunate enough to be under the supervision of Mr. Parker. I guess we were considered the heavy favorites to walk off with 1st place.
We collaborated in class as to what our mural would be. Although not the most talented artist I must have been the pushiest. My concept and sketch was a dark cowboy pulling his two pistols as if drawing to shoot the person gazing at the mural.
The smooth canvas of a metal finish and the time limit had us struggling to finish the mural. Due to the talented classmates I was working with it was looking pretty good. The only thing we had to finish was the face. In retrospect, the most detailed part of the mural should have been started earlier.
As the clock was ticking down to zero, prankster Scott painted a cartoon face with a goofy smile and one big tooth accenting it. We were having fun and laughed to exhaustion over our failure.
Mr. Parker was humiliated and embarrassed… I don’t think any of us considered his perspective at that time. In my opinion, the problem with art class is the subjective grading system. That system cost me yet another credit… I was the only mural painting participant who Mr. Parker failed that semester.
It took me a while to get over being gotten even with. I was hurt, I didn’t share my feelings at the time, but everything else I’d done was dismissed as failing. Not a good feeling… Especially when it was my favorite class and I’d given genuine effort.
The gift God blessed me with, I used to convince my classmates to paint my mural. The responsibility that went along with that gift I shirked. Instead of showing regret for coming up short, I showed indifference to hide some insecurity. Although the face Scott painted was pretty funny, I suppose a good leader would not have allowed it.
There have been many times in my life when I used the gifts from God for my advantage then dismissed the responsibility that accompanied those gifts. God’s word says, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
If God were passing out grades on this lesson, I’d have failed more times than I care to admit.
I wonder how many more times I’m gonna have to learn this lesson?