Thursday, December 3, 2015


It was around 4 AM or 0400, as military folks know it.  I had a sudden revelation, and that revelation was PERSPECTIVE!

The afternoon before I had gotten into a debate with my brand new Department Chair in the midst of a faculty meeting.  He was promoting a change in our system for giving comprehensive exams to our Ph.D. students.  He was quite insistent on his change in our long-held method of doing things, and I had all sorts of reasons the new plan would leave us worse off than our old method.  I really was unhappy at having been in opposition.  No really, I mean it... this time.

Later that afternoon I had another meeting and after that meeting I had the chance to ask an age-group contemporary - of my new Chair- what he recommended.  Obviously, he recommended a private meeting with the young boss to work things out.  Good advice most of the time.

As I said, I was lying in bed, when it finally struck me.  The new boss had a totally DIFFERENT perspective on Ph.D. training than I had- and had had for almost 30 years.  Once I recognized this foundational difference, everything suddenly fell into place.

The new boss, at the very beginning of the term, had selected 3 Ph.D. students with whom he wanted to work, and they had formed a research group.  This struck me as odd then, but this act made his other suggestions much more logical.

The boss was changing our examination procedures, and I was envisioning the problems that could cause in a group of 19 Ph.D. students!

Do you see the difference in perspective?

He was thinking about 3 students, I was thinking about 19 students.  He was thinking of how this new method would allow him more control over his 3, adn I was thinking how hard it would make handling 19!  That is a BIG difference.

The perspective also explained a previous debate, where we had also differed. The new boss was in favor of extending our Ph.D. graduate assistantships from 3 years to 4.  I was thinking about all the new incoming students who would have a 25% less chance of getting an Assistantship... what was he thinking?  He was thinking of the 3 students he had, and how valuable would be the ability to keep them on an extra year, if it was needed.  He was thinking of his 3, and I was thinking of ALL our Ph.D. students.  That's a wholly different perspective!

So what?

G^d's perspective is MUCH different, and MUCH superior to mine.  If I can see His perspective, things become clear.  BUT, even if I cannot, I must still have faith that His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts.

And, perspective matters!

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