Wednesday, June 27, 2012
With Liberty and Justice for All.
5:44 pm edt
Each morning at my school someone-- normally it's one of our
assistant principals--leads us
in The Pledge of Allegiance. We stand.
We mumble along as the words are recited to us over the PA. Some of us
cover our hearts, look for a flag, and proudly say the words. Not
many though. Kids don't like the interruption to their
time. Teachers don't want to get up from their computers either.
They've precious little time to
enter data or read email.
"Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance."
I wasn't an "out
loud and proud" pledge person either--until
recently. I, too, was a mumbler. I, too, felt exasperation at this
interruption to my "important tasks." In my mind, those few
moments--and the "moment of silence"
following--were a burden. My
moment of silence was a scream fest. I had work to do! My mind raced
with lists and
duties; expectations and student needs.
Not any more.
Now I anticipate the pledge. I listen to myself
as I speak the words.
I cover my heart. I believe I set an example for parents and students
who happen to be in
my office for the pledge. Mid sentence, I will
stand. I may have to cheerfully motion for a parent or a student to
stand up with me. Even those who do not yet speak English understand
what we are doing.
liberty and justice for all. Please remain standing for a
moment of silence....." I use the moment of silence too.
I use it to
thank God for blessings...no matter how those blessings are packaged. I
pray for guidance.
My children and I watched "Little Miss Sunshine" last night. My son
reminded me it was rated "R."
He's a rule follower that boy! He
probably thought the "Child-Watching--R-Rated-Movie" police would race
to our house. Probably thought our television set somehow sent
"Child-Watching-R-Rated-Movie" signals to
the local police department
Probably thought soon after the title rolled the police would come
My mischievous daughter loved the "wow!-we-are-breaking-the rules!"
naughtiness of it
Miss Sunshine" is full of profanity. Less, however, than my
students and probably my own two children hear everyday
at school. It's
full of teen angst and rebellion. Probably a good thing, then, that the
fifteen year old son had
chosen to be mute. Frank, the suicidal gay
brother, plays a pivotal role. He's a national scholar of some sort
heart was broken by one of his students. Slit his
wrists.Survived. He now sleeps on a cot in his mute nephew's room.
husband and wife--father and mother--have been slammed by life's
circumstances. Grandpa was thrown out of his
retirement home for his
randy behavior with the ladies there. "Four to one!" he lasciviously
at the dinner table as he regaled his family with his
escapades. I loved his spirit.
And seven year old Olive.
Seven year old: "catch your 55 year old
breath" beautiful Olive. Even in the midst of the chaos and stress
her family, she is wrapped in imperfect love. "Nine Steps to Success"
unemployed dad; "Over worked
and martyred" mom; "I hate everyone and
everything" mute brother; suicidal, "I am too famous for
this to happen
to me" gay uncle, they each feel free to love Olive. In the movie, they
are freed by their love
of Olive; by her innocence, and by their shared
desire to protect her, to love each other.
It is a beautiful
movie. In spite of the "R" rating-- and to my
worried son's relief-- the "Child-Watching-R-Rated-Movie"
not break down our door.
Frank, of the movie, is a Proust
scholar. His nephew, no longer
mute but still suffering, is reading about Proust. Suffering Frank
tells his suffering
nephew that Proust celebrated his own suffering as
the most important times of his life. They look at each other in the
move and smile. They understand, then, that they are both in a most
important time in their lives
justice for all..."
I celebrate now my own sufferings of having been a target of a
as one of the most important times of my life. I
thank God for the blessing of my sufferings for they've shaped and
defined me. They've enriched my life. They've given me opportunities I
would never have had if I hadn't suffered. They've
I am meant to share my blessing and what I have learned with you so
that those of you suffering
abuse NOW will know that you, too, are
blessed. Yet it is so very hard to know that in the midst of the abuse.
Be patient. Be still. Use well your moments of silence. Know you are
may be seated."
P.S. I am sad to tell you there is more--"right now; ripple effect"
kind of stuff--happening in my having been the target of a bullying administrator....