My youngest, who is 12, and I have been having some great, insightful conversations lately. It is always an amazing thing to watch your kids grow! Talk about gratitude! Yesterday we were discussing that even if a wrong does not directly affect you personally , it makes it no less of a wrong. We looked at two different instances:
The first one was simple- I am not gay, so the same-sex marriage issue does not directly affect me. Does the fact that it does not directly affect me make it any less of an injustice?
The second instance is, a little more complex, perhaps?
My son played 8th grade football last year. We had just moved to the school district, but he was there for the first day of practice. On the second day of summer practice, the coach saw me as my son (C )was getting into the car. He came over and told me he hoped C was not too frustrated. When I inquired as to why C would be frustrated, he said “well, because all the positions were taken before he got here”. I don’t know about C’s frustration level, but I certainly was. Not bothering to look at a kid to see what he could or could not do? Over the season, I watched loss after loss by 35, 40, sometime almost 50 points- and the coach played the same 11 or so kids, never giving the other kids an opportunity to see the field, to see what they might do, or to develop them. Not surprisingly, the 11 or 12 kids who were playing had overly vocal parents who were in the coach’s ear every time he turned around. Fast forward to his freshman year- C is attending a private HS, not our public high school. I was at a local gathering and the mother of a current 8th grader was talking about how great an experience her son was having with football as compared to the previous year. They have completely revamped the middle school program, removed the coaches, and moved the beloved freshmen football coaches in to the middle school. Yes, that was great! The only unfortunate part was that this left the same kids (the current freshmen) without those coaches. The other mother then said “but the new freshman coach, everyone loves him! “ Well, that is not what I have heard. I also had been to their first two games at that point. I said something to the effect of “but it seems to be the same old stuff. In fact, he is not playing any of the kids who have come from CYO (Catholic Youth Org.) “ Now, the CYO kids- some of them are good- they were well coached over the years, and several of them now playing for the public high school had made the CYO all-star team, and one was the CYO MVP. The mom then asked if C was playing- I said- no, he was attending a private school- her reply “oh- then what do you care?!” She was not that nice about it, either. Since my son is no longer in that particular freshman football program, does that make what is occurring any less of an injustice?
With the same-sex marriage issue- if all men and women are equal under the law, then if some men or women cannot marry, but some can, that is an injustice. Similar to not letting people vote due to their ethnicity, sex or religion.
Injustices that happen in our school district affect every student. Unfair practices trickle down into morale throughout the school. It also does not teach kids that hard work can get you ahead. It does not teach kids to stand on their own. All of these things trickle into society- specifically into the little town we live in.
So, if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If a wrong does not affect you immediately and directly, is it any less of a wrong? Asking, stating, demanding that wrongs are fixed will help more and more people find their gratitude. It is easier to find YOUR gratitude when others are finding theirs.