Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stand Alone, if you must

You know those snippet memories from childhood?  Do you have those?  I have lots of two second memories of seemingly insignificant events that I'll always remember.  I wonder why that is. 

I had this teacher in high school.  I think his name was Coach Thomas.  In addition to his coaching duties he had to actually teach a class here and there.  My brain cells must have worked really well at the time of day I was in his class because I seem to remember a few things he said almost word for word.  Which is strange, because I would never have guessed he would be someone I would even remember at all (no offense intended, Coach Thomas...if that was really your name).  He taught us all how to write a check.  I've thought of him every time I've written one.  I try to write the first number as close to the left edge of the box so no one can slip an extra number in there and scam me.  Maybe Coach Thomas saved me a ton of money with that little tip, maybe not.  But I always think of him when I write them.

I also make sure to hit the 'print receipt' button at the ATM because of him too.  He told us the story of depositing $300 cash once and it never reached his account.  $300 sounded like $300,000 to a high school student and I never wanted to make that mistake.

His most significant learning experience was the day he divided the class into two groups.  He would give a scenerio and tell us if we believed that to be true we should move to one side of the room or the other.  His point was to let us figure out if we were liberal (Democrat) or conservative (Republican).  Up until this point in life, I didn't know the category I fit into.  I already has very strong conservative beliefs, but never knew that was what I was.  I thought we all had firm convictions but that day was a real eye opener for me.  Human nature is a curious thing.  For example, he asked if we believed in the death penalty.  Lots of us moved to one side of the room, in favor of the idea.  But then he'd crank it up a notch and ask if we would still believe in the death penalty if our father were on death row.  Now, to me, that is the same question.  And I thought it would be for everyone else.  I was very wrong, and very disappointed.  Maybe disillusioned is a better word.  You either believe in something or you don't.  You either feel something is right or wrong in your inner heart of hearts or it isn't.  No matter if your dad is involved or not.  But I sat by myself after he asked it that way.  And that still bothers me!

I mark that lesson as one of the most significant lessons I've ever had.  A true life lesson.  One where you find out more about human nature than you wanted to know.  And I still find that to be true in so many ways. 

I think we all try to blur the lines between right and wrong sometimes to suit our needs or circumstances.  But when you feel something is true in your heart, don't let compromise creep in.  Stand for your values and what you hold dear.  Don't let anyone talk you out of what you feel is true.  Shun their attempts at labels. 

Wow, that got deep!  I promise to write again soon with a much lighter topic!  Good night.