Sunday, June 20, 2010

mais bien sur!

it's funny, is all.

once upon a time, i decided to take french. in seventh grade. i'm pretty sure my parents would have preferred i take spanish--more useful, of course--and then in high school, maybe i should have taken latin--good for those sat scores and so much more, don't you know, and oh how helpful it was for sam in our years of dealing with medical terminology--but i took french. six years in junior high and high school, and i always loved it. so i went off to college, determined to major in english--which i did, despite advice to the contrary from all around--but decided to stick with the french, too. four years later and i opted not to write a french senior project along with my english senior project, knowing full well it wasn't of any use anyhow, and i left with a french minor. my ten years of study came in handy when i hopped around to france and a handful of other francophone countries while i was studying in london, and i occasionally used it in communication with students when i taught at the community college (but oh, how much more useful spanish would have been here in north carolina!). it's been most useful, to be honest, in communication with sam; since luke learned to spell so young, we had to find another way to discuss things we didn't want him to hear, and since sam took plenty of french, too, it has served us well. well enough, actually, that i had to stop teaching luke french a few years ago because it was starting to interfere with our ability to keep secrets (de la glace àpres diner? mais oui!). anyhow, that's been the extent of the usefulness of my french in the ten years since i graduated. not much of a validation for my minor, but oh well. i loved it anyhow.

meanwhile, i sort of used my english degree for a few years as the writing specialist at a local community college; though it was a degree in english lit and i was teaching developmental english, i occasionally had use for my literary skills in tutoring more advanced students, and i certainly had use for the skills i picked up as a writing tutor in the writing center where i worked as an undergrad. but for the most part, i'd say, i did the typical liberal arts grad thing: i learned to communicate well and make a generally good impression, and i went on to find a job based on those skills and not some specific technical skills i had acquired because of my major. later, once i'd left the writing specialist job and spent several years at home full time, i got called back to the community college to work as an editor in the marketing and communications department. again, not something my english lit degree qualifies me for, specifically, but a fine fit for a liberal arts grad. i've been happily editing away for about a year now.

fast forward to this past week, my second week at my new job as children's minister at our church. (my qualification for this job, by the way? certainly not my college education. though i'm pretty sure i mentioned here in a post once upon a time that i've learned more from my kids than i ever did in any class...so i guess that, plus a passion for what i'm doing, qualifies me as much as any liberal arts degree!) anyhow, this past week i set to work on a pen pal project to connect the kids in our church to the kids at our sister church in butare, rwanda. as i prepared the materials for our kids to fill out--little booklets introducing themselves and sharing a little bit about their lives here in north carolina--i had a good chuckle. because i realized that in order for the rwandan kids to have a better chance of understanding the notes from our kids, they would need to be translated...into french.

ten years later, in my job as a children's minister--for which i have absolutely no educational qualification--i found a use for my useless ten-year-old french degree. i think God is funny that way. just another little reminder how much bigger His plans are than ours. thank God.

1 comment:

krista lucas photography said...

that's just plain awesome, daniele. :) have a lovely weekend!!