Bring the Heat

Keyboarding was the most important class that I took during my high school years.  Hands down, no doubt about it.  Maybe it was called typing.  I don’t remember; I’ve never taken a memory class.  Whatever the class was called, the return on investment for that one semester is ridiculously high.  I took one semester of keyboarding and use the skills that I learned there every day of my life.  How much do I use the Spanish that I spent 3 years learning?  Muy poquito.  Or something like that.

I walk better than him (until he breaks my legs)
I walk better than him (until he breaks my legs)

My favorite class that I took while a student at the University of Tennessee was Walking.  Yes, Walking was offered as an elective during my time there and it probably still is.  Yes, I really took it.  If you have ever seen me walk, you would know.  As my younger friends might say, I’m a beast at walking.  I’m the best walker that I know.  Better than Walker, Texas Ranger?  At the risk of losing my life to a roundhouse kick–yes.  Better than George Herbert Walker Bush?  Are you kidding me–of course!  Better than Herschel Walker?  Absolutely not; I do nothing better than Herschel Walker.  He was a beast before calling someone a beast was cool.  He’s O.B.—Original Beast.

Just kidding about me walking better because of the class.  I still walk like a baboon who used to be in a marching band; I would describe it as a graceful lumber.  I did take Walking, though.  We walked all over campus and around the track while learning ways to become healthier. It was fun in a strange sort of way.  Mainly because I enjoyed making fun of the instructor. 

The instructor was a Graduate Teaching Assistant (I think that is what they were called) and he was far to excited to be teaching a Walking class at 8 o’clock in the morning.  We would all be standing or sitting around and he would burst into the room, hopping as he walked.  Sort of like a real-life Tigger minus the tail and the friend who likes honey.  In fact he was very much against honey.  Well, really he was against s eating Honey Buns, especially for breakfast. 

As he entered, he would say in a hyperactive voice “Who’s ready to go walking!”  And the reply would always be the same–blank stares and slack jaws.  I was amazed at his enthusiastic resiliency.  No matter how uninspired we were, he would keep coming with his over-the-top excitement.  And I think his enthusiasm was genuine.  He truly thought that his class was the most important class in the whole university, maybe even in the whole world.  Let others teach about piddling topics like neurosurgery or mechanical engineering.  Walking was more important and if you judged the importance of a subject solely by the energy of the instructor, I would agree.

Eventually, though, some of us warmed up to our exuberant leader.  I, for one, started to care more about learning how to calculate my heart rate and the best way to breathe during exercise.  It wasn’t because the content of the class was stimulating, it was because the instructor was stimulating.  It was hard not to care when the person in front of you cares so much.

That was the real lesson I learned during Walking class.  If I show others how much I care, they might care, too.  Even if at first they really don’t want to.  If I am consistently enthusiastic, eventually it will rub off on those I am trying to lead.  Some will respond, some won’t.  But if I’m not energetic, hardly anyone will respond.

Whether you are trying to lead a family, a company, a department, a church, or any other group of people, don’t forget to be passionate.  And if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, stop doing it and let someone else with a little heat take your spot. 

While I can’t remember the instructor’s name, I will never forget his passion.  He brought the heat.  It wouldn’t be a bad thing if others are able to say the same about us one day.

(What are you passionate about?  Who is your role-model when it comes to enthusiasm? )


2 thoughts on “Bring the Heat

  1. Hi Matt! I haven’t talked to you in a while, but I do keep up with your blog every day. It always leaves me with something, and it reminds me of the “old Matt” at Cardiff who really impacted me with his compassion, open-mindedness, and goal to be 100% Christ-like, setting aside the boundaries of religion. I try to be the same way in my thoughts and actions, and you always pop into my mind when a situation arises for me to show Jesus’s love to someone.

    That being said, out of all the blogs I’ve read and had intrapersonal comments about, this one is a funny one to make an actual written comment about, because of the content. It isn’t a “wham-bam-in-your-face-mini-sermon” like a lot of them are, and it could be written by anyone, not just a Christian person. But it spoke a lot to ME, and the timing (God’s timing) was PERFECT! As you probably know, I am still at MTSU as a Music Education student. I am a Senior, so most of my classes are upper level and since the end of the semester is nearing, all our professors are giving us projects and assignments at full force. One assignment that is due TOMORROW morning that I have really been thinking about the past few days is my Philosophy of Teaching. We have to write a paper of the culmination of our thoughts, beliefs, plans, etc. of teaching, and we have to have at least 5 sources of reference for “why” we think what we think. Congratulations, this particular blog entry just made it into my source list. I want to be one of those teachers like your walking professor, and to see that he made an impact on you that lasts far past the class is an encouragement.

    Thanks for writing this blog today. Like I said, it’s not a particularly “religious” excerpt, but God gave it to you for a reason. 🙂

    • Cool–that’s a first. I’ve never been used as a reference for a paper. Glad that this is helping you. I’ve been trying to stretch myself some writing-wise and may add more posts about leadership and passion like this one. I thought about you and Jonathan last night when I was at the UT-MTSU “game.” Seems like you are doing well and I praise God for it. Thanks for the encouraging words and for letting me know that I have helped you. Sometimes we don’t share these thoughts with people when it is exactly what they might need to keep going. As Joe Dirt would say “Keep on keepin’ on.”

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