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LEARNING LIABILITIES

 

Paul Schneidmill

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2005…a date that will live in inquiry.” 

 

Paul Schneidmill

 

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This past Tuesday (same date as quoted above), the illustrious Sustaining Base Leadership and Management Course (SBLM) 05-2 went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

 

Why?  To tour the battlefields of what is irrefutably known as the greatest and most tragic war America has ever experienced – the Civil War.

 

The inimitable Army Management Staff College (AMSC) faculty assigned to our class, regaled us with their excellent expertise and knowledge of the actions, battles, campaigns, skirmishes, struggles and tactics that took place on the various fields of battle during the three-day conflict encompassing the period of July 1-3, 1863. 

 

They also shared with us the aspirations, attributes, conversations, historical background, intentions, and personalities of the many leaders (and others) who were engaged or participated in the battles of Gettysburg on both sides of the fight (the Federals – the “Blue” and the Rebels – the “Gray”). 

 

If your reading of the previous two paragraphs is making you feel a little overwhelmed….it is possible you are fortunate if you were not there.  Our faculty was so well versed in their knowledge of this significant portion of American history and so eager to address literally every aspect of their massive amount of knowledge…let’s just say I learned something about “pain management” that day.

 

Let me not be remiss in saying that I understood and appreciate fully their overall intent: They wanted to relate the leadership attributes, characteristics, traits, and values they have been teaching us for the past five weeks, from a viewpoint that could be seen and understood as they took place during an actual war.  They wanted us to see examples of decisiveness, initiative, personal courage, selfless service, etc. as they were demonstrated in the greatest historical battle to take place in this country…they just did it toooo well…(I didn’t know people could talk so long without taking a breath...)

 

I learned that day that there are times when learning can be hindered by “teaching.”  As one faculty person stated, “When you know so much about something, it’s always a challenge to be able to figure out what not to tell.”  I also learned that this was true.

I was really learning some good stuff for a while, but around about 11:15am (from what began at 7:00am), rich and robust history became historically incessant banter and the energizer bunny in my active listening apparatus began using one arm to bang the drum slowly.

 

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After vividly describing and relating many of the acts, examples, and teachings Jesus Christ gave, as well as the activities He participated in and the situations He encountered, John the disciple writes these words at the conclusion of his Gospel contribution: “And there are also many other things Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.  Amen.” (John 21:25)

 

Within the four Gospels there is a wellspring of wisdom about the person and work of Jesus Christ, and there is more than enough there to help us to learn the best lessons for living.  However, I’m glad, as John implied, that everything wasn’t written down about Him, because I know He’s allowed us to have all that we really need.

 

If, as John surmised, everything regarding Christ’s three and one-half year ministry had been imparted to us, this planet would be one huge library that in essence, would be a liability for learning about the Lord.

 

I am grateful for all the learning I received at Gettysburg on that…day, however, I would like to make one suggestion to the SBLM faculty and all who are blessed with a vast amount of subject matter expertise in one or more areas:

 

“Try not to tell it all in a brief (i.e., several hours) amount of time.  Doing so can result in “learning liabilities.”

 

Paul Schneidmill © Copyright 2005