Acceptance, Judgement, Mercy

June 26, 2008 at 11:08 am 1 comment

Sharon over at Casaubon’s Book wrote a post yesterday that has really stuck with me. It was a great post for a number of reasons and you should read it but the section that has been churning around in my mind was where she broadly described a period in her life when she made some poor choices and told of the people in her life who helped her anyway. She described one high school teacher who passed her through his course (even though she was not doing the work) on the condition that she get out of that town and do something with her life.

I contrast that story with one reported by a friend of mine recently. She has been teaching at a private school in Cambridge while completing her doctorate at Harvard. She is very committed to doing anti-racism work and presses her students hard on this point. In the fall, she received a set of very poor student evaluations. She took that information in and looked deeply into her self, her motivations, her communication style. She made some changes and the Spring evaluation set showed a marked improvement. But since the numeric average of those evaluations was not a “solid 4” on a 5 point scale, this gifted and caring woman lost her job.

Whether or not you agree with Sharon’s overall vision of where things are headed in this country and in this world, it seems pretty incontrovertable that in the coming months and years and decades (if we’re lucky) we are all going to be called on to make major changes in the way we order our lives. As far as I can tell, that is not a question.

The question is…how are we going to make those changes. Are we going to jealously guard our little horde from our neighbors? Are we going to crankily judge those who were slower on the uptake than we were or even who actively buried their heads in the sand? Or are we going to extend a hand of friendship and trust to idiots and help others not because they “deserve” help but because it enriches our own lives to share what we have. Are we, as Ben Franklin put it, going to hang together or hang separately?


Entry filed under: Piedmont.

Virtual World Dealing with the Heat

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sue (coffeepot)  |  June 26, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Amen as I have said..”class” means nothing to me. We are all in this together. Just do the best you can.

    It is no time for superior attitudes. Except perhaps against the superior attitudes.


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