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Monday, April 6, 2015

An Unruly Child

Lessons Learned

Tell The Truth

An unruly child. Incorrigible in many ways. Defiant. Combative. Aggressive. Befriended by other school children through fear, in their efforts to socially navigate the “walking on egg shells” feeling of coexistence with one so different from them; this was the standard and daily classroom MO in room 237. Laughing a little too loudly and often at classroom jokes that weren’t particularly humorous in order to offer affirmation and esprit de corps to one who didn’t fit; this too seemed a daily survival strategy. But this was no way to learn. And this was no way to live. It was dysfunction. Head-in-the-sand, turn-a-blind-eye, sweep-it-under-the-rug, anything-but-address-it dysfunction. What happened to the tow-the-line, call-it-what-it-is, own-it type of honesty? Can we truly improve if we do not face the problem? Can we truly grow if we do not seek to acknowledge truth? Can we be set free from the demons of defensiveness over our painful circumstances if we are unwilling to look deeply and compassionately into those very circumstances that fuel our rage and plot a path out? Hope is not found in the place where we ignore truth, but rather hope dwells in a place where we humbly recognize truth and bravely, deliberately commit to a stronger path. Hope is for every child, every student who is led by a courageous teacher, parent, grandparent, coach, or pastor who will not settle for anything short of honesty. Honesty is never the easy way, however, because honesty requires engagement and disclosure, which in turn require time, vulnerability, and trust. One child, one student, one life at a time, we must make the time for honesty, for ultimately it is the only way each one can be set on a trajectory of hope and possibility. Less than that will cripple the future and diminish dreams.  The unruly child didn’t really want to be so. The unruly child wanted normalcy and simply had no idea how to get there. The unruly child needed the honesty and compassion and strong leadership of one who wouldn’t allow any sort of settling for less. The unruly, lonely, hurting, fragile, despairing child daily struck out in the rage of accumulated pain, with actions screaming “help me” and everyone standing by saying “you’re just fine.” When did we stop telling the truth?