Not Rights, But The Right Thing To Do

Category: 2012 Published: Wednesday, 30 May 2012
I had a problem with a boy in class today. Once again, we see an athlete feeling entitlement without accountability, trying to get ahead, while actually falling behind. This young man is a very good person. He was texting in class, and he knew he wasn’t allowed to do so. His excuse was that he was texting his mom. I took his phone away. When he was walking by me later in the class .he asked if he could negotiate with me He was passing notes back and forth with the student next to him. I asked him to stop. He was helping the student with an assignment and I asked him to stop. I pretended to go out of the classroom to check on the time and looked over my shoulder and he was talking with the student after class. I asked him to stay after class.
            I then went to two other kids in the class, both athletes, and asked them to stay after class for a leadership chat. I did not want to criticize the one student in front of the other two. I had picked those two/ students because one was already a very good leader and the other had some setbacks, but I believed he had the ability to be a leader. Both athletes have shown on different occasions to understand the big long term picture of balanced excellence.
             I explained to all three that leading was not a sometimes thing and that the students could easily take shortcuts and that would lead them on a slippery slope to problems. Bad things can happen to good people and do many times over. I then asked the two kids to leave and kept the first boy for some more dialogue.
            Stunned was the only word I can come up with. When I explained to this boy that he had insulted me and lied he denied all behavior. Even though I had set him up to test him when I went to look at the time he said he was not doing it purposely. even though when I was watching him he did not talk to his friend. I explained to him how entitlement can creep into any one’s life and slowly but surely taint their perception of right and wrong.
            It will be interesting to follow this young man’s journey over the next few years. It is my hope that something will click from our talk and he won’t remember me, but the lesson learned.
            One final note to this story. I saw both boys who I let go first in the next couple of days. Both boys had interesting takes on our meeting. One said he did not really understand what I meant by the strength acquired by being humble and being an example of the rules, instead of above them. But to his credit he wanted to learn more. The other boy smiled, and said he understood completely.
            It has come time to take a look at our commitment to each other as teammates and friends, as one community united with each other, not competing with each other, at any one’s expense. We should not be looking at each other to see what we can get away with, or what rights we have but what obligations we can fulfill.Anytime you go against the right thing to do, and that does not mean your rights, you will chip away at the long term good and moral compass that is needed for inner balance.  You will find it easier and more justifiable to be less than forthright and true in the future knowing that you did not receive consequences that your behavior deserved.
Hits: 258