Not too long ago, in one of my blogs, I was chastised by a responder for not doing what he thought I should have done. This was followed by the comment, “I would expect more from a prosthodontist.” Let me set the record straight: I am not a prosthodontist. Nor do I play one at work. I am a GP and I have worked pretty hard at the science and craft of dentistry for the past 33 years. I do some things really well and there are certainly areas where I have much to learn. I get that teaching creates an expectation of expertise. I have also come to understand that we as dentists want heroes and we want them to be perfect. Sighhhh. I promise I am neither. Mostly, I am an educator, who is pretty comfortable not being perfect and working hard at getting better. I am tenacious, persistent and perfectionistic, all characteristics that have served me well and have also caused me grief. Do yourself and your heroes a favor: Keep them off a pedestal. They very likely don't want to be there and when they do fall off, it is painful for everyone. Isn't it hard when you discover that your heroes aren't perfect? Rather, when you find those whom you would like to emulate, recognize they are just as human as you are, allow them to be imperfect and celebrate what you learn from them. Most of us in this position welcome being accepted as people, friends and perpetual students.


Commenter's Profile Image Barry Polansky
August 14th, 2010
Excellent post Steve. I remember that blog post and I too was caught up in that comment. I tried to "sneak around" it as well. Years ago I sent Chris (Chris Sager - the ex-CEO of the Pankey Institute), a book titled Feet of Clay, which discusses just what you are saying. Your human side comes out in this post...and that is one of the essential elements of leadership. Educators are leaders and teachers...I know you for many years and can vouch for your ethics in dental education. Barry
Commenter's Profile Image Mike Weisbrod
August 14th, 2010
Very nice post. I enjoy your blog the most for it's thought provoking material. From your blog, i have tried to think and learn outside the realm of what I "think I know." As scary as it is for me to post what I think online for all to see, I take that risk knowing (more than likely) I am wrong and that I will learn something valuable. I remember the blog you are talking about very well, and I was pretty upset that someone would write something so demeaning. Why did I think it was so demeaning? Because I do put you and the Spear faculty on a pedestal. I put you all in a high regard for your knowledge and experience. But as the Dalai Lama says- we are all human. I am hopefully the first to admit when I am wrong, and hopefully someday I will be more right than wrong. When that day comes I would like to say I am a part of something bigger and I am educating others to reach and learn something different. Until that day, I will continue to look up to and learn from those who are teaching "off the pedestal."
Commenter's Profile Image Steve Ratcliff
August 15th, 2010
Thanks to both of you!