“Enjoy yourself. (That’s an Order.)”

karen“I’ve got to hang up or they’ll shoot me!”  The friend on the other end of the phone just laughs when I say that, because she knows that it means I’m approaching the gate here at the military base where I teach for our college. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t be on the phone….just another of my many bad habits…trying to quit, I promise.) The morning ritual at the gate sometimes involves getting out of the car to display the contents of my trunk. Occasionally, I may be asked to open all the doors and the trunk, then step aside after presenting my credentials.  On one really exciting morning, a canine officer gave my car a thorough sniff, casting apologetic looks in my direction all the while.

Military Working Dogs  search vehicles at 401s...

Military Working Dogs search vehicles at 401st AFSB August 25 (Photo credit: 401st_AFSB)

However, most mornings I simply hand over my ID card, and a shockingly young MP (does he even shave yet?) waves me on with a brisk greeting: “Have a good day, Ma’am,” or “Have a blessed day, Ma’am,” or “Air Assault!”  I never know the proper reply for that last one. I just smile and say a quick prayer for the mama sitting far away who misses and worries about that young face.

Earlier this week, the MP on duty offered a new twist that I loved. “Enjoy yourself, Ma’am!”

Ha!  Has he been reading our little blog? I’ve been driving onto this base every morning for  six years, and no one has ever urged me to enjoy myself. My day took a decided turn for the better from that moment on. That started me wondering. If an exhortation from a gun-toting soldier made such a difference in my day, could I influence my students in the same way? After all, if the leader of the classroom doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself, students aren’t likely to have a lot of fun either. Perhaps I should issue a deliberate invitation/order.

“Enjoy yourselves!”

heart model

heart model (Photo credit: zen)

Keeping that in mind, I bounced into my A&P II class and announced, “Today we are going to master the anatomy of the heart and learn how it pumps blood to the lungs and the body. This is always fun for students, and you will leave today really knowing something that you can use for the rest of your careers.  Let’s grab these big heart models and get down to work.”

And so we did. And so they learned. And so we all enjoyed ourselves.

I hope to drive through that MP’s checkpoint more often.


2 comments on ““Enjoy yourself. (That’s an Order.)”

  1. Someone used the phrase “a word in season.” How lovely that is when it happens. B

    • Karen Dougherty says:

      Proverbs offers commentary on both our blog topics this week. How cool is that? “Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”

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