“Come on guys, just cough it up and we can move on with class.”
I pleaded with my second block class last Wednesday to give it back. My clicker that controls my powerpoint slides mysteriously went missing. Then all of a sudden during class the slides start magically changing on their own. Students were snickering, some were confused, some were annoyed. At first I was kind of amused actually. It was the first week of November and this is the first thing that has been stolen from me which is a slight improvement from last year!
But my amusement quickly dissipated when I realized that whoever took it had no desire to give it back. At least not without making me sweat a little first. Eventually what I had to start doing was pulling kids out in the hall and make them clean out their pockets and ask them if they knew who had it. That plan definitely backfired when a particularly fiery young man very aggressively accused me of racism and racially profiling.
I was dumbfounded. I was angry. I could not believe the ignorance, the ridiculousness of his line of thinking. Someone in the class took something valuable. I’m trying to retrieve it before it leaves my classroom, probably never to return. I am the ONLY white person in the room. Anything I do could be interpreted as racially profiling by his logic!
Fortunately campus support came and escorted the young man out of the classroom before things escalated too badly. Fortunately one of the deans was able to get the clicker.
But unfortunately I allowed it to pretty much ruin my day. I went to a meeting directly after school to share the experience with other sexaholics and their support certainly helped. But a few days went by and I still couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then I went to church and heard a sermon that sums up me all too often. The sermon was about the divisive nature of politics and how many Americans feel that they must be on the right side of political arguments and controversial issues. We feel that we must have the last word when we are “discussing” these issues with others.
I realized then and there that one of the reasons I felt so badly about the incident in my class was I felt determined to put that young man in his place. I felt like I was in the right so I must make sure he knows he was in the wrong.
That was not love. That was not willingness to hear him out. It was self-centered and it was driven by fear. Fear of being perceived as something that I am not.
Fear of being wrong.
Tomorrow roughly half the country will be angry that their candidate is not replacing Barack Obama as the 45th president. Some will swear off America as a lost cause, some will vow to move to Canada. Its pretty apparent that fear is running rampant throughout our country at the moment.
Today in my APUSH class we discussed the history of political parties and how from the early days of the Federalist and the Democratic-Republicans there have been fierce debates and passionate rivalries. America has a long history of avoiding the wrong side of the argument, of having the last word. We feel that our positions are always right and people from opposing viewpoints are always wrong.
Through humility I am starting to see this more and more in my daily life and it is a character defect I want to surrender fully to the King. I refer to my Higher Power as the King because He was and He always will be. No political system or party will ever overthrow the King.
The question will never be is God on our side but are we on His side.
When Jesus is my King:
- I won’t over identify with party platforms or over praise politicians’ character.
- I can be my own person because I belong to the King, not a political party.
- I will fight differently – not against the world but FOR the world.
- I will love others – regardless of race, religion or political preference.
- I will always belong.
It is because of this belonging that I have peace and serenity. Since I belong, I don’t have to prove that I am right. I don’t have to put people in their place when I feel that they are wrong. I can listen to others – even the ones with whom I disagree.
And above all its my sense of belonging that can promote this same inclusiveness in my circle of influence. Today I called that student over to me as he passed by in the hall on his way to another class. He came over not really knowing what to expect.
I gave him a big hug to let him know that he still belonged in my class.