This week has been one of challenge, in your face screaming at you kind of challenge and subtle internal challenge. Sometimes I think the in your face is easy to deal with as you can just make a plan and walk away, however internalising or reflecting is a little more complicated. I work with adolescents,they reflect a broad spectrum of society, most are relatively pleasant individuals some however have it seems engage in attempting to bait, insult, aggravate the teacher as their sole purpose in life, frustrating behaviour. Most teachers I know genuinely want to help young people in many ways, I have found myself wishing, can’t they see all we want is to help them, no ulterior motives, our rewards are often non tangible, nothing to do with students passing, just students learning, even sometimes just coming to class. This week I had a student say to me that they didn’t like me, I quipped back that I would rather be respected than liked, I thought about this later and it set me thinking, was that really true.
I have a long drive, sometimes 90 minutes one way for work plenty of time to think, and think I did. I was not a well liked child or adolescent, I was not bad or cheeky or anything negative, enough of that but I note that I always wanted to be liked. The problem with being liked is it seems that liked is a synonym for popular, and popular I think I will never be. Truth in all it’s forms is the first casualty of popularity, here lies my first obstacle, I am likely to tell the truth, ask me a question and invariably I will answer it with truth, sometimes I don’t even need to be asked a question and I will say it as it is. Sometimes it is called wearing your heart on your sleeve, and I have blogged at length on that subject. I came to the realisation that last week I was paying the price for honesty ( and for keeping my word). I realise I should not have been surprised with the insults to my integrity, they came from people who really don’t know who I am or what I stand for, this doesn’t necessarily lessen the sting as it is not quite as simple as all that however it does contextualize it for me.
I went to church tonight, (as good as any day to go to church) one of the songs had a lyric that spoke of God’s Justice being like the tide. I assume it means ever constant, always there, however I realised that the tide comes in and out,you can rely on it but as the tide comes in and out sometimes when the tide is out it reveals things that are not so pleasant to see, mud flats, rubbish that has been dumped, and unpleasant smells from these places, when the water rolls back in a picturesque scene is there, no hint of the ugliness below. That is where true ugliness is revealed, not on the outside but on the inside. Justice is indeed like that. We live in an ugly world where many people just don’t get the idea that someone may do something and not expect anything in return.
Unfortunately a strong narrative is constructed that if a man does something for a woman then there must be ulterior motives for that,I understand where it comes from and I guess it is well founded at times, so if a situation comes up where this help is noticed many people make assumptions, even worse when one has had a past relationship with the person. So my bad I guess if I stand accused of ulterior motives by people who don’t know who I am. Unjust ? I shouldn’t be insulted. I give people plenty of ammunition to shoot me with. The problem with that is small mindedness. I wonder if the accusers can be bothered to get of their butts and help out where needed, I suspect not which makes their accusations even ruder still.
So in the end an easy choice for me, I will continue to help where I can, whenever I feel the need to, and if I am asked as well, why you may ask? Well I have written before about being hardwired to care, but I think it goes much deeper than that. It is about doing what is right and I have had some real good role models in my life whom have shown me that in their world. So I continue in that, in doing so it is the most comprehensive answer to my accusers, actions speak louder than words, Would I like people to like me more, well I guess that might be nice but then I may not like myself. Matthew 6 19 – 21 says “19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;” We are reminded also that if we get our reward (or seek rewards) for our good works in this world then we have had them, pretty simple really, our justice has been had!
My next week will be interesting as I have penned a blog for a national organisation, that may be somewhat controversial, I have thought long and hard about it but decided to have it published because i think it is important to have the conversation about, I will share the blog once it has been published.
I was going to finish with some advice but I suspect the people who need to read the advice probably won’t read my blog.
Live well, love long, and stand up for justice in all of it’s forms.