This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is Other. A perfect meditation after having spent two solid weeks worrying over the state of affairs in our education system and the people who give their hearts and souls to it.
Five minutes are on the timer…GO
Over the past two weeks I have listened to the audio version of To Kill a Mockingbird with the boys. It was fortuitous that we listened to this book right in the middle of the Oklahoma teacher walk out. I have spent so much time and energy thinking about education but only a fraction of the time and energy that others have spent on it.
When I think about who the Other is in this situation and in everyday life, I can’t help but think of Atticus Finche’s advice to Scout.
“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
My hope is that all of Oklahoma, but mostly those in power at the state capitol who make decisions regarding the future of our state, would take some time to think about what it may be light to walk around in someone elses’ skin. What must it be like to be the other person? What must it be like to live the life of someone else? To know their struggles, their accomplishments, their sorrows?
I hope that when kids go back to school they will take a minute to think about what their teachers have done for them. What they went through at the capitol and what they go through every day because they know it’s the right thing to do.
I hope everyone involved will think about someone other than themselves for two hot seconds. And if they can’t do that, then to take a page from Calpurnia’s advice to Scout regarding how we act around other people:
“It’s not necessary to tell all you know. It’s not lady like – in the second place, folks don’t like to have somebody around knowin’ more than they do. It aggravates ’em. You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.”
Even while bemoaning those who make the rules, I have to stop and try and place myself in their shoes for a minute. How would I handle the pressure from the public? I don’t know, but I hope that I would do what was in the best interest of the people I serve even in spite of what it might cost me. Trying to imagine what it must be like reminds me that it is absolutely impossible to serve multiple masters. One must choose who they will serve…themselves, money, or others.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if those elected to serve us are listening to us. At least that what it feels like from my point of view. I wonder what it sounds like to them? All I know is that their language is at the voting booth. Those who can’t walk around in a teacher’s skin don’t want to learn or listen. The only thing they might be able to hear is my pencil filling in a little round circle on a ballot in November.