A short treatise on communication

I attended the two-day MACADA (Missouri ACademic ADvisors Association) conference at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, MO these last couple of days.   For those unfamiliar with conferences, we ate, we listened, we ate, we played, we ate, we listened.

Most of our conference material centered on learning about communication style and connecting to students through proven theoretical models.  We learned about “developmental” versus “prescriptive” advising and “etic” versus “emic” anthropological modes.

All that to say this: relationship is a pretty huge part of (our) my job.

But when I think of relationship, I ordinarily don’t think of theory.  I think of practice. Truly, we have one great example of how relationship in community works: Jesus.

Jesus had time to listen.  He knew that, to effectively present His Father’s truth, He would need to listen to a concern.

He knew to question.  Very rarely will a person directly answer or reveal a truth about themselves without a question to draw it out.

And last, he knew to make every word count.  Wasted words often lead to wasted time.  Every moment is a “teachable moment.”  Never lose the opportunity to lead someone down a desired path.

One of the greatest joys of my chosen career path is that I find numerous ways to connect to students and share in their joy, frustration…the spectrum.  I’m also finding them at an exciting and yet confusing time – a time where they are leaving the throes of teenagehood and high school and (hopefully) maturing into not only competent, productive workers, but more importantly, a life-long scholar.

Let’s pause on that thought for a moment.  The very word “university” come from the Latin phrase universitas magisterium et scholarium (meaning “community of masters and scholars”).  We are called into community to be learners – deep learners – and to share knowledge and wisdom from our own path to higher education.

The word I find more reflective (and telling) of the environment I wish to reflect, though, is “college.”  College comes from the Latin collegium “a community or an association.”  The word college gained popularity during the Middle Ages, when a rise in scholarship in the upper-classes started.  College is a community or association of learners!  We’re all learning here!

So, that seems like a major digression from whence I came.  I learn to teach.  I teach to learn.  In my own Christian walk, I am mentoring and also being mentored.  I am discipling and I myself am being discipled.  My communication, therefore, extends from what I know and what I’m learning.  Such is the beauty of God’s love – He chooses to bless us abundantly with new truths and new thoughts.  Once could look at His word anew each day – such is the greatness of His breathed word.  What other book could be so dynamic, but yet unchanging?

I hope you enjoyed my brief communique on learning and how I’m engaged in the process.  Remember that today, and each day, you are loved dearly by our God, who sent His son to die so that you would no longer be “not good enough,” “shameful,” or “not worthy.”  Jesus stained his blood across history so you could live with a freedom not fully known.  Won’t you join in loving Him today?

One moe Latin-related thought: The University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN)’s motto is crux spes unica – the cross is our only hope.  Think upon that today as you bind yourself to God’s will and plan for your life.

Oh, and since she’ll be reading this sometime today, I’m sure…Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you dearly and thank you for your many blessings.  Enjoy your special day!

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