Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What if people took responsibility ....

What if people took responsibility and acted to stop the things they rail against.  Some examples.

A wonderfully written letter by a teacher apologizing to her students for having to inflict the state testing on them is making its rounds through social media.   The letter is beautiful and it is being hailed by so many people as an example of their feelings as well.  However, one cannot help but ask, why does this teacher apologize and then continue to exhibit the behavior for which she is apologizing.  Oh don't get me wrong, I know the story.  The teacher would be fired if she refused to be complicit in this testing experience.  REALLY? Does anyone know just how hard it is to fire a teacher?   Besides, what about all those other teachers in that school and other schools who also think this testing is bad for kids.  What if those teachers said, our first responsibility is to our students and we won't cooperate in doing something that we believe will hurt them.   Would/Could the system fire all of those teachers?   Not likely, but it is just easier to complain, blame the system but not do the dirty work of refusing to do something you think is wrong.

What if parents returned to the roles of parenting instead of friending their kids.   Parents complain that they don't like the testing, but they do not keep their kids home from school on test days.  Parents think the clothing that their kids wear is awful.  Do the children have credit cards?  Parents will respond that these clothes are the only ones their children will buy and that "all" the kids are wearing them.  Well as my mother used to say, "if all the kids are jumping off the bridge, would you jump off too?".  And the kids aren't buying the clothes, it is the parents who are paying for them.   Why not just say I will buy this but not that, you decide.  I hear parents of teenagers complain that they have no control.  They probably don't.  The time to have established control was when the child was young, trainable and controllable.  Kids have parents for a reason.   Teenage brains are still in the process of forming and growing.  They literally do NOT have good sense yet.  So parents need to substitute the mature sense of the adult for the formulating sense of the child.  That takes courage because there will be push back from the child.  As always it is easier to go along rather than to buck the tide.  But what would happen if parents took responsibility for being parents.  I think the kids would like that too.  It gives them security.

What if black men took responsibility for the boys of their race.   Recently the mayor of Baltimore, herself African American, called out black men in particular for black on black murder.   She noted that 90% of the murders in Baltimore for 2014 were black men killing other black men and in some cases boys killing boys.  She commented on how quickly the public, and African Americans are all over the police when there is a police shooting.  She, in no way condoned that, but she rightfully noted that there was only a silent accepting response to "us killing us".   What if people said this is enough.  If black lives matter, and they do, why does it only matter when those lives are taken by police officers and not when they are taken by other African Americans.  Who is really cheapening those lives?

It is ever so much easier to blame "them" for whatever is wrong in our society.  "They" make me give these tests that are bad for my kids.  "They" require my children to wear clothing that is not appropriate.  "They" are taking black lives.   If WE started taking responsibility, maybe THEY wouldn't have so much control and WE wouldn't have so much to complain about.

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