The biggest worry in being a ‘do gooder’ is not the risk of stopping the doing of good. It’s getting arrogant about it.

Ooh, arrogance, that most insidious of faults! That creeps up on you till you really do believe you’re better than others.

And in believing that, you prove that you’re not.

Yeah, there’s more than just a little bit of irony in that whole situation.

I heard one hadith where some of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) threw dust in the face of those people who were praising them. I remember thinking at first that it was really rude of them, but then it later went on to explain that these companions did so to stop the people from praising them to their faces, because they feared growing arrogant about the good they were doing.

And that’s a legitimate fear!

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, that I’m really fortunate to be surrounded by family members who love me enough to tell me when I’m getting full of myself!

I absolutely count on them for that!

Maybe other people don’t have that around them.

I know of one particular author who embraces every cause! Who rides like a champion out to slay the forces of darkness, kind of. And boy has he become obnoxious over the years!

I never used to think so.

I recall a friend saying that her son thought this author was really full of himself and I remember being shocked and jumping to his defence.

But later when I heard of some antics he pulled at a school where he’d been invited to speak, where the kids hadn’t participated in his little scenario to his satisfaction, where he stormed out in a huff and promised to give the school their money back, and what a sour taste it had left in these teachers’ mouth, I thought ‘wow’. Maybe my friend’s son was right. And I reserved judgment.

I’ve been watching a lot of Dr. Phil, and I’ve been sensing him getting a bit of a swelled head. He’s become more belligerent when faced with foolish people on his show. It’s sad to see really. He used to be more patient with them, to the point where I thought, wow, the guy’s a saint!

Um, not so much any more.

And you know how you can see his signature, at least I think it’s his signature, on the big sign at the back of the stage? Where the ‘P’ in Phil has a huge belly to it? Well I was observing it one day and I thought of something I’d read about handwriting analysis that said people who make huge loops or bellies in their name tend to be arrogant, and I thought, “Hmmm.”

Recently I received some interesting feedback.

I’m doing a storytelling set at the Mosaic Storytelling Festival on March 9th with Donna Dudinsky at 3 pm. It’s at St. David’s Parish Hall, 49 Donlands Ave. (Donlands and Danforth right off the subway).

Donna had emailed me asking how we would conduct the set, whether we’d do interspersed stories or take a half hour block each. I said half hour block and I’d like to go first.

The reason I wanted to go first was so I could get it done and then just sit back and enjoy listening to her stories. But Donna emailed me back and asked for the first half hour because she said I was the ‘headliner’.

That was news to me!

She also said that I had my fans and that they’d want to come up to me afterwards and take a look at my books. And I thought huh? So she told me that she’d been at some of the previous storytelling events through the Mosaic Festival and when our set had been announced and particularly when my name had been announced, some people had yelled, “Yeah! We love her!” or something like that.

Wow! It felt so strange to hear that.

And then yesterday I went to a school, actually very close to that area! I hadn’t seen the librarian for about ten years! She still remembered me, and had invited me to speak to her grade 7-8’s (my favourite group!) about my novel Wanting Mor.  Well ever since the India trip, I changed the presentation to straight storytelling minus any technology and it actually works even better! So I was doing the presentation and there was some sort of kerfuffle with one of the teachers who grew a bit belligerent and took the boys of his class out of my presentation because he wanted to give them a health test.

It was weird.

I’ve never been in that situation before.

He was yelling and being quite rude to the librarian and I actually felt sorry for him because he was making a fool of himself.

When I finally started the presentations (and was talking fast to make up for the late start) he actually came back to get some of the girls who hadn’t exited with the boys and the librarian refused to allow them to leave. Well this time he started shouting! And I had to pause for the noise to go down.

Anyway, later, during the third presentation, it went along swimmingly, many of the students came up to me and told me they remembered me from other schools in the area! And they had heard parts of the presentation before, and yet they loved the presentation again. I asked them if they were bored? No, not at all! They assured me.

In fact some of the girls who’d stayed behind, from that belligerent teacher, had snuck in to see the presentation again because they enjoyed it so much!

And I thought wow! The fact that kids would actually sneak in to see the presentation again…just wow!

And then one of them asked me to sign her agenda, and while I was signing, I grew alarmed because I noticed that my signature had changed a little.

The belly of the ‘R’ in my first name and the loop in the ‘h’ in my last name were really quite big! And I thought of Dr. Phil’s signature, and I grew afraid.

And I wondered if my previous thoughts weren’t some form of projection, where you see your own flaws magnified in others.

It definitely brought me down a notch or two.

And if I had some dirt to throw handy, I might very well have tossed it, not at them, just in the air, to remind myself not to become arrogant.

And to definitely not take myself too seriously!!!