Why You Should Learn From MEAN Teachers

'Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.' - Martin Luther King, Jr.Click To Tweet

True story: Once upon a time, there was a piano teacher named Mrs. Pine* and she was MEAN.

If she was unhappy with someone, she wouldn’t hesitate to throw a fit, throw books, and throw kids out of her house.

One day, the mother of Sandy, one of the students, decided she’d had enough and canceled Sandy’s lessons. But Sandy herself begged to go back until her mom relented.

On the other hand, another classmate named Nelson stormed out of the house when Mrs. Pine scolded him, and never went back.

Why such different reactions?

Sandy wasn’t a sucker for punishment. She went back because Mrs. Pine was an extremely talented music teacher.

Nelson, on the other hand, chose to sacrifice his musical future for a moment of “sticking it to the boss.”

Which brings me to this ancient proverb:

“Do not rebuke mockers, or they will hate you, rebuke the wise, and they will love you.” (Prov 9)

Sandy was wiser than Nelson. She knew that while Mrs. Pine was harsh, her rebukes were on point, and made students better musicians and people. So Sandy chose to stay and learn. Nelson couldn’t catch the big picture, so he gave up entirely.

But this concept applies both ways:

If you are the one who sees a flaw in someone else’s life, only point it out if the person has the wisdom to understand that you’re doing it for his/her own good. Don’t waste your breath on the “mockers.”

On the flip side, if you’re the one being “rebuked,” by others consider whether:

  1. They’re speaking out for your good, and
  2. They know what they’re talking about

If both are true, then swallow your pride and listen. Even if only the second point is true, you might benefit from listening, still.

But if the second point is NOT true, ignore them and go your merry way…especially if the first isn’t true as well.

Oh, and one more thing: rebukes don’t always have to be harsh. Even if they are, you can always make ’em more palatable by doing what this one zany science teacher did

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