The school I teach at: Two days ago, a gaggle of seniors engaged in the time-honored tradition of The Senior Prank. Police officers then engaged in the time-honored job of catching them. The principal engaged in the time honored tradition of suspending them. In my opinion, every body pretty much did what they were supposed to do.
The kids were kids, the police did their best to cut down on mischief, the principal did his best to mantain safety, order, and compliance in “his” school.
A few more specifics: There is a small pond outside the school. The students apparently had thousands of rubber ducks. The plan was to populate the pond, I guess. They all ran off when the officers arrived. A k9 unit flushed several of them out. The suspension was 5 days, barring the kids from the end-of-the year activities. The kids were not arrested but it appears they’ll have to explain themselves to a judge.
The student body pretty much did its job. They found a cause and (pardon the pun) flocked to it. In an astounding show of unity and organization, a staggering number of them came dressed in yellow today as a show of unity with the mallards at the root of the whole thing. Many of them wore specially designed shirts with slogans like “What the duck” and “you have got to be ducking kidding me” or “free ____” (Where ____ is one of the caught kids names… Since ____ is free, I’m a little unclear about the meaning of that one.) They had duck buttons, duck stickers, duck pictures taped to them…
Again, everything I’ve reported thus far is not anything I really have a problem with. Everybody pretty much did what they were supposed to do.
My problem is that over half my co-workers wore yellow, sported buttons, and all the rest.
Because I work with emotionally disturbed adolescents, I am keenly aware of the importance of mantaining boundaries between myself and the kids. This does not mean that I dislike them, don’t interact with them, etc. But it does mean I constantly mantain a mindfulness that they are students and I am a teacher.
Because I have worked in places that were a bit dangerous and always hovered on the edge of quite dangerous, I feel strongly about mantaining a united front with the other adults, unless the other adults are quite clearly engaging in abuse or neglect. Behind closed doors I am all for yelling, screaming, and fighting for the kids. But when the kids are watching, I am determined to support my colleauges and I expect that in return.
Maybe my experiences aren’t helpful preparation for where I am now. But this isn’t really the point. My point isn’t so much about my disagreement with other people. It’s about my feelings about myself.
Because what happened is I found that two groups had been created, among the faculty. I found myself being measured up, assessed by everyone I was meeting. Was I wearing yellow? Did I have a duck button? What’s worse is I found myself doing that same thing: looking around wherever I went, to see where everybody around me stood.
And it’s not about the principal of the school. It’s about the principle of the matter.
I had concocted this rather absurd fear that somebody was going to offer me a button or a feather or something to wear. I was afraid I was going to be put on the spot.
I am not proud of my fear.
This is all hard on me because, despite what this post might imply, I am not a rule follower. I hate being “that guy” I want to be on the forefront of the protest, I want to be fighting for the opressed and down trodden, I get itchy at the idea that I might actually be part of the establishment.
Even before I was a Christian I got half the truth: Jesus is not a convervative (in the American Political sense) He’s not a Republican.
I’m struggling a lot more with the other half the truth. He is not a liberal, either. (In the American Political Sense.) He’s not a member of either the Green or Democratic parties.
It cost me a little something to follow Jesus today. I had this oppurtunity to take up my cross and follow him. In this little tiny way I did it. I wish it came with a warm and fuzzy joy.
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