A Principled Principal

The title of today’s blog is built on a homonym.  The two words principle and principal sound the same, but they have different meanings–they are homonyms.  When listening to a conversation, homonyms can be a little confusing.

Confusing may be the best way to describe my high school years.  Mr. McCollum was my principal and his principles were hard for me to comprehend.  Due to my ill-advised exploits, I spent quite a bit of time in the office of Mr. McCollum and got to know him very well.

Years later when I was home on leave from the Air Force, I bumped into my old principal at a cafe.  I approached him and said:  I’m not sure if you remember me.  He looked at me, and said:  Sure I do, you’re Stan Seymour.  We shook hands, and I apologized for all the problems my misbehavior had cause him.  He said:  Stan, no need to apologize.  I wrote all of that off as adolescent stupidity.

Mr. McCollum had done what a main character of the Bible did thousands of years before him.  In a sense, he had taken an eternal perspective on life.

When Joseph was a small boy, his jealous brothers sold him into slavery.  Later in life, he was betrayed by the wife of his employer and sent to prison.  While in prison he did a favor for a member of  the Pharoah’s staff, and the favor was soon forgotten.

Joseph eventually came to be a powerful man in Egypt.  After his family was reunited and his father died, his siblings asked Joseph to not take revenge on them.  Joseph replied:  What you did to me you planned for evil, but God intended it for good.

Immediate and short-term perspectives can fail us.  If Mr. McCollum would have taken this approach, I would never have received my diploma.  I’m glad he was like Joseph and knew that life is a marathon and not a race.  Those who stumble at the starting blocks need someone to give them a hand.  They need a Joseph, a Mr. McCollum,  or perhaps a person like you.

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