Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Test-taking Fun

As many physicians do in June, just before renewing their medical licenses, we were finishing a few hours of CME (Continuing Medical Education) and printing out certificates for the files. A few months ago, a friend of ours called to tell us he had a CME company he liked to use and had noticed a course that looked like one we would need. I had done the first two of the three part series, when my boss looked at the book. The next thing I knew, he was reading the course material, taking the tests, and printing certificates while I saw patients.

When he returned my book, I laughed and said, "Tomorrow I'm doing the third course while you see patients."  "But you have way more hours than you need already," he replied. "Oh, I know, but I wanted to do this course too. I thought it would be helpful." He laughed and handed me a form. "Then you'll want to do this one, too."  Of course, it seemed like something I just had to know, and added it to the stack for tomorrow's study session. We shared a big laugh about all our courses, realizing that we were just two lifelong students reveling in the joys of learning. My boss said something then that I found truly profound. It might surprise you. "Yeah," he said, "don't you just love taking tests?"  

There is something wonderful about studying the course materials, learning the information well, and excelling on testing, isn't there? Being able to use the information I've studied to help me take better care of patients is a little like taking a test and doing well. My boss is right. I do just love taking tests. The ones I like best, though, are the ones for which I have prepared and on which I can do well. 

I realize that not everyone excels at "book learning", but we all experience the tests and trials of life, and we all have the opportunity to prepare for those tests, or not. I've heard it said that the Bible contains all the information we need to live life successfully. There is information about managing money, raising children, godly marriages, handling conflict and dealing with enemies. If we want to be prepared for life's challenges, those life-tests that come our way, we need to study The Book. If we do, we should have a pretty good idea of what action to take when hard times come our way. 

Some years ago, I experienced one of those life-tests. Looking back, I can see that I had prepared for years. I had a good understanding of what to do, but I sure didn't want to do it.  I knew that no one would blame me a bit for acting just a little like the rest of the world. The problem was that, when you know better, it's a sin if you don't do better, so I didn't really have a choice. I wasn't perfect at doing the right thing, but I gave it my best. This side of the hard times, I'm really glad I did. It has made every other life challenge easier. 

You may not have found test-taking fun while you were in school, but you can enjoy the trials of life that come your way. You can enjoy them, that is, if you prepare ahead of time and trust what you've learned to help you through the test!