The Left-Handed Fencer….

Once upon a time I was in college and found, much to my dismay, I had a physical education requirement to meet. I thought the Marine Corps through the auspices of the local NROTC unit already exercised me quite enough thank you very much!

Fortunately for me I had more choices than the tyical ‘jocks-n-socks’ classes I was used to in high school and I found myself in a fencing class, not building, but dueling,  with foils to be specific. Errol Flynn ( do you even know who that is?) look out!

There was just one girl in the class and she was left-handed to boot. Not only were we distracted by how nicely she filled her fencing jacket, but by the time we figured out how to fence backwards, she had easily defeated us and she won the end of course tournament hands down although she was probably not the best fencer. As she explained it, ‘you all look the same to me so nothing is different.” As Hermione might say “Well spotted!”

As part of a graduate course I had to take a form of the Meyers-Briggs personality test. I tested as a strong INFJ, very strongly as a matter of fact. When I read the description my first reaction was “Oh my God! Somebody out there actually knows how I think and see the world!”  I was a ‘type’ and not just a weirdo!!

To double check I asked my wife to read the description without telling her what the passage was supposed to describe. She just said “Oh, this is you, who wrote it?” There were no surpises for her in the description but then she’s known me from teens to middle-age.

What was most interesting to me was the fact that INFJs make up only about 1% of the personality types in the world. I am a ‘left-handed fencer’! None of the other personality types can figue out why anyone would want to be INFJ and we can’t figure who wouldn’t want to be like us. This little test was eye opening for me in many ways but it gave me a lot of sympathy for the other ‘fencers’ in the world who have had to duel with me for fifty-plus years.

The book this test was in also described how the identified personality types would teach, preach, etc. and it described my teaching style to a ‘t’ and also gave me insight into why some students love my class and some hate it. It also made me understand that I had to go deeper in order to teach and minister to other personality types; to find the overlap in other words.

Call me ‘reflective’ or call me ‘self-absorbed’ but it’s still kind of cool to be an INFJ!


About Edward

Dishwasher, bartender, cook, house painter, movie usher, Marine helicopter pilot, teacher, administrator, teacher again, retired teacher, Secular Franciscan, Lay Ecclesial Minister- it's been an interesting ride.
This entry was posted in Personal Reflection, Religion/Spirituality, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

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