Bird droppings August 5, 2011
Honesty as Policy
I walked out to a very still and quiet morning around two thirty this morning. Being my official first day back to school (work) I looked for a smiling moon sort of a good luck charm to no avail. I would use this reference to a moon from back in the day “a smiling moon” a good friend who would read my notes would always respond explaining how the sun and earth and moon would be in certain positions and create this effect. But what about back in the day before astronomy and telescopes and science when man simply took what was presented and formulated a rational which at that time would many times be the explanation.
“A fortress earns greatness by enabling courageous defenders to gloriously defeat the enemy at the battle’s very onset. Whatever excellent qualities a fortress may possess, it will be of no avail without men of excellent action.” Tirukkural
I have written numerous times about the interactions of students, teachers, principals, parents and community and as in this ancient verse from nearly 3000 years ago each aspect is important, crucial to success of the whole. It takes students to make a school great as well as teachers, principal and staff. It takes the support of those through the parents and community. Asking for signatures on progress reports or various documents is a minimum of support and so often students take that away by signing their own.
Several years ago it dawned on me that one of my students who always turned in her paper work ahead of time had not been home yet.
“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” Sigmund Freud
“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
Eventually As I learned there was no way my favorite student went home between first and third periods I questioned the validity of the signatures yet still was assured they were real. I do require turning in the next day now at least to maintain a safety net of some level of trust.
“There is one way to find out if a man is honest; ask him! If he says yes you know he’s crooked.” Groucho Marx
I raised the question about politicians last night in a discussion and why would anyone choose to be a politician because you are immediately suspect. Something else I have seen with politicians is that they eventually are gone, friends are still there.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person’s in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate now knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen
Oh it is so much easier to not be at the doorway when a friend comes by with a problem to be too busy talking or working at a task. However time and time again people come to the doorway that need a friend and it is honesty that brings them not deceit. Violent demonstrations break out at a peace rally has been almost a news mantra for decades now. Arguments over a statue of the Ten Commandments or teaching of evolution versus creation, issues, politics and opinions.
“The honest man must be a perpetual renegade, the life of an honest man a perpetual infidelity. For the man who wishes to remain faithful must take himself perpetually unfaithful to all the continual, successive, indefatigable, renascent errors.” Charles Peguy
We live in a society so immersed in dishonesty it is like my student who turned in her paperwork third period and I believed her about parent signatures. We watch advertisements and listen to politicians who manipulate data. Even religion is biased for and against ideas and topics depending on the atmosphere at hand and political view. Historically churches have changed theology dependant on public view or royal edict. It is interesting and even silly looking back from a historical view. I made a statement about George Washington and his refusal to have clergy at his death bed and several people could not believe the founding father refused to have a pastor at bedside when he was dying.
“Honesty is for the most par less profitable than dishonesty.” Plato
It is sad that even thousands of years ago man knew mankind and the great philosopher Plato would make that statement. That unfortunately still holds true. It is always about money. Be it national politics, local politics, religious politics, and or school politics eventually it is money. Gas prices have gone higher than anytime recently not because of a shortage but an energy bill is pending that benefits oil coal and gas companies not consumers. Many months ago legislation was defeated in a Democratic house to not drill in wilderness areas in Alaska the black out on the East Coast has been actually at one point been declared a terrorist act and in other speaking an energy issue.
Generally by looking who will make money you will find the culprit. Ages ago in the first crusade a group of knights took Jerusalem from the Muslims during the first crusade and subsequently The Knights Templar a group of warrior monks ruled Jerusalem for many years till they lost favor and literally were destroyed from within and their lands and wealth confiscated. Interestingly enough Jerusalem fell and was not taken again for over a thousand years. One of the most difficult of tasks is teaching children to be honest in a world that thrives on dishonesty and deceit.
“To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education.” John Ruskin
But we start with children imposing our standards immediately and in a few short years teach children to be dishonest. Language acquisition and honesty run hand and foot on a developmental scale interestingly enough.
“To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle.” Confucius
Several years ago I was sitting in a class and a good friend made the statement that a child with conduct disorders will eventually at adulthood will be a sociopath that is someone who cannot tell right from wrong and or does not want too, an example might be Jeffery Daimler or so many other serial killers. Conduct disorder children ninety nine percent of the time will either eventually end in jail dead be used car salesmen, politicians or evangelists. His comment was not one of scorn for religion or politics but for a society that allows this to occur, which reminds me I have a book to review of Dr. Sutton’s. We essentially will support the worse possible person in an important job many times knowing this if we benefit in some way or think we will. Amazing this world we live in and to end today which may be the hottest of the year in Georgia so far, keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart. Always as a last thought check the door next time you hear a knock you may have a friend in need.