Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
Another History Fair come and gone. It is hard to believe this was our twenty third annual fair. For those of you who do not know, History Fair is like a Science Fair except of course, students do history projects. Unlike Science Fair that is only exhibit boards, in History Fair, students can also submit their research in the form of a historical paper, performance, documentary, or web site. Over 1,100 students participate in our local fair. After over two decades of managing all the little details of History Fair, this was the first year that I did nothing to prepare for it. My staff did it all. Other than being there to help during the three days, I stayed out of their way. Other projects distracted me from trying to micromanage the event. Everyone worked hard to get ready, and most things went well. One glitch did happen and ironically, it was probably my fault. When all the judging was over, I entered the winning numbers into our data base. Somehow, I overlooked a student whose documentary on Thomas Edison was chosen to go to the second level of competition, Florida State History Fair. Unfortunately, winners’ lists were posted, and we prepared for the awards ceremony but none of us noticed the omission. I ran into the young man whose name is Nick prior the awards ceremony. At that time, I was convinced that Nick had won a prize in addition to being on the state team, so I kept hinting around trying to get him to express pleasure in the prize. But, instead, all he kept saying was how excited he was to be going to state. I read the names of the winners during the ceremony and that was the first time I paid any attention to who won what. As the ceremony went on, I realized that Nick’s name was not on my list. It dawned on me how humble he was. He never said a word about not winning a prize, just talked about the chance to go on for more competition. The next day, we remedied the situation and provided him with the prize he deserved. To know how unique Nick is, you have to know that we dread the end of History Fair because it means we have to deal with hostile parents and whiney kids who do not understand why their entry did not win a prize. While I am glad that they are all proud of their work, not everyone takes home an award. I have always believed that one of the most important lessons of History Fair is the preparation for real life when future bosses and spouses will not bow and scrape before them. Nick set such a good example for us all. Be grateful for what you are given and don’t demand and pout when you don’t get more. You just might be surprised at the reward you receive for your humble and appreciative attitude.