Don’t judge me. I mean, I know I judged all of you, but try to accept my very sincere apology and be the bigger man – or woman. It took me a little while to catch on to things, but I made it. So, give me break, please.
Here’s the thing. As a teacher for twenty years, I have witnessed a lot of students passing through those elementary school doors. And it has become pretty apparent that the kids are usually a reflection of one or both parents. I think most of you could probably agree with me on that. However, I think that I have finally realized that some kids might not be crystal clear mirror type reflections, but more like throw a boulder in the water and see what you can discern from the ripples kind of reflections.
It used to seem so easy. A kid comes to school on a thirty degree day wearing flip-flops and shorts, and you think, “Gosh, either that parent doesn’t give a darn about that kid, or they just don’t have the money to get a brand new wardrobe.” You hear about a kid taking drugs in school and you think, “Wow, I guess their parents aren’t keeping very close tabs on them.”
Well, think those things no more. Or, at least, try to add a few more thoughts to mix. Try this one on for size regarding the flip-flop matter: “Gosh, that poor parent must have had a tough morning getting their kid to put on a long-sleeved shirt, and given up after the hour long tantrum, thinking its better to send my child to school on time than to even consider the child abusive methods necessary for getting a pair of jeans and some tennis shoes on him. So what if it’s thirty degrees outside; he won’t be outside at school anyway.”
Or, here is another scenario that may not have crossed your mind, “Wow, that poor parent spent all of her time teaching her child to say no to drugs, but neglected to suggest that her daughter should not accept the offer of a white substance in a plastic bag purported to be salt during her lunchtime in the school cafeteria in school.”
Yeah, bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? Neither did I.
I have decided that the older I get, the less I know. What happened to that certainty that guided my days when I was younger? The black and white world of absolutes has dissolved into an amazingly vibrant, ridiculously titillating globe of line crossing, line erasing, and line redrawing.
How can we judge until we can imagine? It is so simple to see what is wrong, but much more difficult to determine who to blame. Before you decide that he, she, or I am a bad parent, try walking in my shoes for a little bit. Or, wait a moment, make that flip-flops. And it better be thirty degrees at the warmest when you start your journey.