Tuesday, April 03, 2012


It wasn't until I was about two years out of the classroom that it struck me. I had taken for granted, whether true or not, the idea that I was significant in some way to the hundreds of students I knew. No doubt, at some low level of significance, this was true.

But what hit me harder was that for a very short while, to be honest, I felt sad that I no longer meant anything to so many people. Fortunately, some old boys turned up and disabused me of that thought. They were quite clear I had been of significance to them — but also that now I was just a slightly odd friend for whom they had some residual respect a bit above the norm.

You have to let it go. I had come to secretly, unconsciously believe that I was of greater import than I really was. What was really important was my work, my service, my calling. In the dark days, I had sometimes forgotten that.

It reminds me of the etymology of the word 'arrogance'. This word comes from the Latin verb rogare — 'to stretch out (one's hand in demand)'. 'Arrogance' is the attitude of assuming that anything you want is there to be taken when you stretch your hand out for it. Mea culpa. Guilty, guilty.

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