“A humble, kind, and positive attitude.”
“You get yourself fired not because of skills, but because of attitude. “These were the words that was said to all of us Senior Highschool parents at our last Back to School Evening at Esperanza Highschool. The teacher of Economics & History was telling us what he also told his students our sons and daughter. Was telling them hard earned truths about the financial matters of adulthood, the importance of responsible manners and ethics, and the that we as parent should stop urging our kids to find a fun job – instead urge them to find a meaningful job that requires skills and good attitude. One of the other parents at this last Back to School night, said that his son really liked this class and his teachings – and then the frank teacher said: “And your son is….” And after hearing his name, he said: “Oh, his only problem is that he needs to show: he needs to come to class!”
“You get yourself fired not because of skills, but because of attitude.”
I thought about those words as I was reading the Gospel today. The Gospel according to Mark tells us bout the time when Jesus and his displaces walked in the small villages to meet and teach, - and Jesus asked his disciples” Who do people say that I am?”
And some of the disciples said that some think you are John the Baptist, some Elijah and other on one the other prophets. But Peter, the eager, outspoken, Peter busted: “You are the Messiah!” The Shortest Creed and Confession of who he believes Jesus was. The Messiah, the Chosen One, the Son of the Man, the Savior. Peter knew all the right words; he wanted to please his friend and master. He wanted to be the leader of the pack.
But only a few moments later, his attitude revealed him. When Jesus was telling his disciples about his destiny, about the road of atonement, suffering and despair that he would walk – Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him, asking him not to talk like that, asking him to be more of a Victorious Savior than a Suffering Servant.
Immediately Jesus looks through Peter. And sees past his words of confession and creed, - and sees his human reluctance, his attitude, - and Jesus rebuked Peter back with the fierce words “Get behind me Satan. For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Peters skills as a leader, as a confessing frontrunner, and an eager follower, did not carry though when his true attitude and lack of faith did show.
“You get yourself fired not because of skills, but because of attitude. “
Even if there is a long way from the days of Jesus and Peter, and today’s high school students and their teacher, - our lives both in school, at work, in church and in faith are a lot about attitude.
To document the wise teachers accesment a study conducted by Carnegie Foundation who’s that to be a successful in career, relational skills are far more important than knowledge. The research found that only 15 % of a person success is determined by work knowledge or technical skills. 85 % is determined by the individual’s attitude and ability to relate honestly and truthfully to others. Quite often we believe the opposite; and we focus mostly on skills, academic knowledge and formal education ignoring the importance of character building and attitude formation.
While the Bible might have little to say on making good grades, getting accepted into college or finding that fun well-paid job, the Bible does have a lot to say about building good character and forming a positive trustworthy faithful attitude and how to relate to people and live in community. From the old Laws of the Old Testament to the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount there are many many good a direct teachings and principles to build character and form attitude. Some of which Peter obviously not always lived by – he was often so eager to be first and right, so eager to show off, - that he did get fired or rebuked on his attitude.
Our attitude tells a lot about who we are and how we are: are we kind or mean, forgiving of grudge holding, selfish or generous, trusting or mistrusting. Our own attitude colors how we look at others, and it also colors how others see us. Good and pleasant and easygoing attitude makes us relax and creates a positive atmosphere. According to said Carnegie Research people with a positive and pleasant attitude get more thins done than those who hold a negative, complain and unpleasant attitude. So, the teacher might be right: our attitude affects our level of success.
Attitude also affects our happiness. Few of us can change the basic conditions of our lives or the sudden challenges we might meet, but we can control our attitude and how we handle life’s blessed blessings and cursed changes.
The reading from James today also tells us about attitude. How we speak, how we interact with others, how we should try to control that mount or tongue of ours. The human tongue might be one of the small members of our body, yet it boats of great exploits and power to create of destroy.
The tongue is a fire and can ignite fires.
We can confess our faith in God with our tongue, and we can curse some of God’s holy creatures, our fellow neighbors. It is not easy to tame the tongue, James said; we can tame any species of beast and bird of reptile or sea creature, but no one can tame the tongue; a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Oh, we know that deadly poison. How words matter. How words can kill and destroy. How words can demoralize, deceit, dehumanize, and demonize. And still, words can also do the opposite be uplifting, loving, caring and true.
There are four pillars to build a good Christina attitude on: Humility, positivity, kindness and forgiveness.
“Be humble. “The humble attitude is a Christ like attitude - and poor Peter forgot his humble attitude as he rebuked and corrected Jesus. Be humble – we all have skills and talents, but we should not be boastful, proud and condescending.
A positive attitude even if we know there will be hard times, difficult people, failures, tears and even heartbreak. In our families, among our friends or even in our church. But, we need to hold our heads up, keep our attitude positive, knowing and believing and thanking God for bringing the sun up in yet another morning.
Be kind and gentle. Jesus was kind and gentle in his approach to people. And we need to be kind and gentle to one another. Even if the world seems cruel, even if they did not fulfill their responsibility, did not measure up to our expectations, made terrible mistakes for bad judgment, messed up their lives and blessings, - we still need to be kind and gentle and help bear the burdens of those who are weak.
And we should be forgiving. “Bear with each other, forgive if any has a complaint against each other” These words were once again spoken in a beautiful garden yesterday evening at a beautiful renewal of vows after 25 years of marriage. We all have stepped on somebody’s toe, we all have offended others as we have been offended b others. Keeping grudges and have a constant bitter attitude only ruins relations and quality of life. We all need to forgive and be forgiven. Recognizing our own shortcomings and be ready to forgive will tear down many diving walls and built mane solid bridges.
Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear, and even the blind can see.
- Mark Twain