Bird Droppings December 26, 2009
You never win getting even!
“Everything that has happened in your life to this minute is unchangeable. It’s history. The greatest waste of energy is in looking back at missed opportunities, lamenting past events, grudge collecting, getting even, harboring ill will, and any vengeful thinking. Success is the only acceptable form of revenge. By forgiving your trespassers, you become free to concentrate on going forward with your life and succeeding in spite of your detractors. You will live a rewarding and fulfilling life.” Dr. Denis Waitley
Everyday I talk with students who should heed this advice. In reality not just students but parents as well as I read through a second and third time. Dr. Waitley is a Naval Academy graduate and has received a PhD in Behavioral Psychology. He is known for his work on the psychology of winning, and has been the psychologist to the US Olympic team. His CD on “The psychology of winning has sold over 10 million copies.
“Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.” St. Augustine
“This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.” Francis Bacon
Within the microcosm of a high school the similarities to a larger system of humanity are interesting. Various hierarchies abound and social structures and separate orders are evidenced on every corner and in each hallway. Within the constraints of agendas and teachers views an entire ecosystem unfolds, there are predators, prey and beyond. The aspect that seems so often to creep out or up is revenge, usually based on he said she said sort of trivial incidents, and then a fight. The retaliation after the fact and this person is in trouble then that one. It has been a few months since a situation happened outside my door, so quickly I was told after the fact and I am usually sitting at my door. Two girls were at each others throats in a matter of seconds over one of their boyfriends who was actually the culprit in the whole fiasco he cheated on the one girl with the other one.
”Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese
“Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on.” Les Brown
What makes it so difficult to forgive to put aside differences? I had an experience several days ago with a student before the holiday break. The school policy in dress code rule number six or so, states that students can not wear “Dixie Outfitter shirts”, which is a popular T-shirt among high school students in the south or I should say among “rednecks”. Generally they are emblazoned with a confederate flag. This is perhaps the hardest image of revenge and retaliation in existence, in this southern culture.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi
The other day walking around a near by mall, I noticed a Kiosk was solely devoted to Confederate flags and motifs, situated between Verizon wireless and terry cloth slippers. Not only is the concept engrained in the culture but in the profit margin as well.
“If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you will always remember.” Kahlil Gibran
“If a good person does you wrong, act as though you had not noticed it. They will make note of this and not remain in your debt long.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
In some communities the wearing of a particular shirt or not to wear has literally created turmoil. In my instance a few days back it is with a student who uses his disability to mask hatred and underlying resentment. In a student parent meeting nearly seven years ago a parent made a comment that has stuck with me. He was sitting across the table; the father was defending his sons fighting. However it was an attitude and a statement about his work that stuck with me. He said he was an unemployed framer, and it was because those (blankety, blank, his words were a bit too vulgar to repeat here, Hispanics) work to hard and get all the jobs. He was bitter about somebody working too hard and getting all the work. There was never a comment about him not working hard. I sat thinking as a former employer, I really found that interesting. Do not hire hard workers that really made sense. The next week he was in a fight and jailed along with his son.
“A winner rebukes and forgives; a loser is too timid to rebuke and too petty to forgive” Sidney J. Harris
“Nobody ever forgets where he buried the hatchet.” Kim Hubbard
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Nearly seven years ago I wrote a paragraph or two about the sixteen hour syndrome I called it. How students are home for sixteen hours and in school eight and teachers are expected to retrain and re-teach what was taught in sixteen hours at home, in eight hours in school. Those habits and issues gathered at home are hard to replace. This is becoming more an issue as parents expect teachers to teach morality, manners, and all other aspects of humanity in the brief window we see children.
“It is a very delicate job to forgive a man, without lowering him in his own estimation, and yours too.” Henry Wheeler Shaw
On my journeys each day somehow I manage to stop by my favorite place, the local Quick Trip. As I went in yesterday, “hey Mr. Bird”, a former student who has dropped out and now has earned a GED called over to me. I noticed a City ID badge, he went on to tell me he was working for the city doing water quality checks, a really good job. Funny thing is this is a kid who wouldn’t take off a T-Shirt with inappropriate logos on it and went home suspended back in the day. He now works under a stricter dress code with rules that same shirt is not allowed to be worn either. I wonder if he wears it in defiance of his pay check.
“Only the brave know how to forgive; it is the most refined and generous pitch of virtue human nature can arrive at.” Laurence Sterne
“Forget and forgive. This is not difficult when properly understood. It means forget inconvenient duties, and then forgive yourself for forgetting. By rigid practice and stern determination, it comes easy.” Mark Twain
If only people could forgive, would we have war, would we have fights in high schools, would we have racism or would we have divorce? But in the confusion of human nature these events cause, this event and this then causes that, and soon revenge and retaliation take over. So I sit back writing and thinking pondering this morning what if? It seems I always come to this sort of outlook on holiday breaks away from students and parents. It is easier to ponder perhaps when the only real thinking is to cheer for your favorite bowl teams. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.