Dear reader, you might find this hard to believe, but I used to be much more of an embarrassment to myself than I am today. Much, much more. Very silly, very foolish and sometimes furiously stupid. However, as I have ripened with age, I am now able to check myself at least some of the time. Still, there is at least one sort of occasion on which I am quite willing to appear a downright idiot — when it’s time to ask questions in class!
(Can’t stomach asking questions post-lectures/speeches, though — just don’t feel able to ask the ‘right’ sort of questions — thus defeating my following thesis, probably!)
I’m attending a short course on conducting Bible class at the moment (not that I’m qualified to teach one — just that it’s a free course and conducted by a much-lauded seminary teacher and open to everyone but it’s in Cantonese but I guess that doesn’t matter to me anymore). The teacher welcomes questions and addresses them thoroughly, so in each lesson thus far, I’ve burped out a question that’s bubbled its joyous way to the surface of a muddy mind. Each time, however, I’ve received a good dose of remonstration about certain assumptions embedded within the question. I really must learn to frame queries more carefully!
I don’t regret being in the line of fire, though. I’m quite content not to feel I have to appear particularly knowledgeable (cos I’m not!), and am willing to take a risk if it means I get the hang of what I want to learn. But I guess this is also me trying to paint myself as a ‘good student’. How many times have you heard ‘there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers’? If I do become some sort of teacher one day, would I be as willing to put my ignorance on display? Perhaps the solution is just to seek humility and realise that a proper indicator of growth is the burgeoning awareness of just how much you don’t know.
I just hope and pray that I’ll have the guts to admit my flourishing state of ignorance all the days of my life.