How Will You Frame It?: An Open Letter from the Dean of the School of Business
We love our professors. They are not in education for the money. They don’t teach to inflate their egos. They do what they do for the students. Our faculty love nothing more than to be in a classroom full of pupils, creating a conversation about communication methods, weighing questions regarding psychology, redeeming ideas in biblical studies, and reimagining solutions for engineering. So when we say that this campus closure is hard for everyone, we’re talking about our professors, too!
But we also know that we can count on their wisdom, their leadership, and their care during this time. Instead of telling you about how our professors care for the whole student, we’d rather just show you.
Dear Business School Students,
I have wanted to send you this message for a while now, but I was waiting on decisions about the rest of the year before sending this to you. I believe today is a good time, at the end of the third week of the session, to let you know what is on my heart.
Life is full of twists and turns. The change we are going through now is one that nobody saw coming nor could anticipate. I can honestly say that never in my lifetime have I been “stuck” at home when there was not either several feet of snow on the ground or a hurricane pounding the shore. It is a bit surreal to look out my study window and see the bright sunshine, beautiful blue sky, hear the birds singing, and honestly wonder what is going on that is keeping us so isolated.
There is a topic in marketing that I enjoy thinking about and studying the implications from time to time. (Okay, every time I teach Consumer Behavior!) The concept is known as “framing”. My desk at home sits against the wall and has a window on either side of it. If I look out the left window, I see the front yard and the street where we live. Sitting in the same spot and looking out the window to my right, I see the back yard, docks, and the channel off Winona Lake. Which view is the correct one? That depends on the frame that I decide to choose. If you were to ask me what my world looks like at this moment, which “frame” I pick would give you a very different answer.
Here is the challenge that we all face today. Which frame are you going to choose as you look at your current situation? I suppose you could look out one frame and see what we have lost, or given up, so many things that we had been looking forward to for so long…. Or, we could look through another frame and see what we have gained in order to protect our friends and family from a deadly virus.
Life is all about how we react to the situations that come into our path. I can dwell on the fact that I cannot hug my grandchildren for a while, or praise our Father in heaven that I will get to hug my grandchildren again, hopefully in a few weeks. As students, you could look through a frame of despair and give up on your studies. I would hope that through prayer, Bible study, and the encouragement of others, that as believers we might pick a different frame of reference than one of defeat.
For example, you could look at this as an opportunity to learn new communication technology that will come in very handy as you move into the marketplace. Use it to keep in touch with your classmates. Is it the same as being face to face? Of course not, but is it far better than sitting at home complaining about not seeing anyone. I wouldn’t trade the moments we spend on FaceTime with the grandkids almost every night for any TV program ever made. While I can’t hug them, apparently, if you are two years old, I can be very funny on a phone screen. Baby giggles are the best!
If you have a class that is meeting online, sign in (if you are able to connect even with your phone) and join in the discussion or just sit and listen to all of the extroverts! It sure beats the isolation that we are all feeling. Stay in contact with your faculty. They are all working very hard to make this work for you and have done so without a single complaint. Pray for them. They miss you all more than you could understand. YOU are the reason that we went into teaching in the first place. You are God’s gift to us.
John 14:27 records the words of Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” What a wonderful frame to look through as the world around us seems to be anything but peaceful and totally afraid of what is happening around them. We can be ultimately secure in the knowledge that God has this!
As you grow older, you will look back and see so many twists and turns in your life that you did not know were coming before they turned your world upside down. That is just the way life in a fallen world is. If you think about this from a long-term frame of reference, you are going to have some crazy stories to tell your own families someday about how you “made the most” out of an admittedly difficult situation. It all depends on the frame you choose to look through. As for me, I’m going to keep looking up and trusting!
The Business School faculty are praying for you as we walk through this time. If you need anything that we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know what you need.
God Bless and Stay Safe!