By Rick Schmidt, Director of HR & Safety
When the marketing team asked me to write an article, they gave me a very specific topic: whatever I felt like!
That is a risky thing for someone to tell me. You never know what you’ll get. It might be sports, politics, or something random like my top travel destinations.
But once I started thinking about it, I noticed a theme that’s been showing up in my life at church, work, in podcasts, and in my personal life.
It’s the difference between being right versus knowing truth.
You may be thinking, “Oh boy, Rick is getting deep and personal.”
Well, I want to keep it light and fun, but I also want to issue a challenge to both of us at the end.
I Was Corrected by a Child
About four months ago, I was preparing to teach Sunday School. I had carefully planned the lesson, and I thought I had it all figured out – that is until one of my seventh graders corrected me in front of the entire class.
She was 100 percent right in her correction, and I had missed it. That hit my pride. My defenses went up.
Even though I was wrong, I so badly wanted to defend myself and explain why I said what I did. But there was no ground to stand on. I was wrong.
How easy is it for us to admit that? For me, in front of a class of 10 to 13-year-olds, it wasn’t easy. I am more than twice their age. I should know what I am doing.
I Was Ousted by a Soup Pot
My wife and I have been married for seven months. Both of us are competitive, even when we don’t need to be.
We were making a large batch of soup and we had a huge pot to use. As we started adding the ingredients, we realized that it might not all fit. But I sized up the pot, looked at all the ingredients, and calmly told my wife, “It will fit.”
Twenty minutes later, we were scooping half-cooked, overflowing soup ingredients into a second pot because I was wrong. And just like in Sunday School, I found myself coming up with excuses like ‘I missed the carrots’ or ‘I didn’t realize how much chicken stock we needed.’ The reality was I misjudged the situation and was wrong….again.
Even with something as simple as soup, it was hard for me to swallow.
Learning and Recognizing Truth
Where does truth come into this? There was only one truth when I got called out in front of my Sunday School class, and I missed it. When my wife and I were making the soup, the truth was that it didn’t all fit into one pot.
But when we stop and think about our everyday life, right, wrong and truth aren’t as apparent as those examples, are they? We want to be right in our work, politics, church, and more! We don’t want to “embarrass” ourselves. We don’t want our pride to take a hit.
Instead, we defend our position – even though it may be wrong – and by doing so, drive a wedge in our relationships. I admit that it’s hard to understand what is true versus my opinion. The water can get muddy, and it might require a little more listening and digging to understand where another person is coming from.
I told you at the beginning that I wanted to challenge us all. I want to challenge us all to seek to understand.
What is true? What is just my opinion?
It could be as simple as cooking soup or as complicated as politics. But if we are willing to seek out the truth, this causes us to listen to other viewpoints and maybe do a little digging ourselves.
I know I’ll have to put aside my pride and stubbornness to succeed. But I’m going to try. How about you?