The Most Difficult Lesson
From my perspective, most of life’s lessons are not something we acquire intentionally. Some of the hardest lessons come at the expense of others. One of my favorite anti-motivational poster quotes states: “It could be that the purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others.” Humorous but painfully frank, I try to learn from the mistakes of my peers. Unfortunately, it is more often than not my own mistakes teach the hardest lessons.
Chef Hamilton was my instructor for 101 last term. I admire him not only for his obvious skill in the classroom, but his patience with a challenging class. I didn’t think that I personally would need his help, hoping that I would pick up the material very quickly on my own. I had no idea just how wrong I was.
We began breakfast cookery, starting on the basics. It was then that I met my match: the incredible, rumored to be amazingly edible, egg. One ingredient means no margin for error. It also requires far more patience than has been required of me for awhile. This much was obvious to Chef Hamilton because I became visibly frustrated in class. I could not get my eggs over easy just right. This was evident by the growing pile of “sunny-side up” failures directly behind my station.
Chef Hamilton strolled over, wondering why I had apparently given up. With that coy, boyish smile of his he said, “Show me what the problem is.” He stood there, watching my work on egg after egg until I got it right, instructing and directing me through every step. My confidence increased as I finally turned out one single perfect over-easy egg. I was elated, and he moved on to help the next student.
I do not think Chef Hamilton realized the events that transpired that day, and probably went about his business as usual. However, I will never forget. What he taught me was not just how to make an egg. Chef Hamilton taught me the value of patience, and more importance, the value of humility. Everyone needs help sometimes, and being afraid to ask for it will never help you improve. I voted for Chef Hamilton as instructor of the term for this very reason. He has given me the confidence, patience and humility that will make me a great chef. I will never stop learning and I vow to treat my fellow students, colleagues and hopefully, proteges with the same patience and respect as Chef Hamilton did for me that day.
8 years ago