Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Accountability vs Tattling

A few months back we had our annual Parent-Teacher Conference for our 7 year old.  If you haven't had the pleasure, she is a delightful little rascal that brings me great joy and exhaustion. She is my favorite 7 year old - and she proudly declares that to all that will listen. Zoe calls it like it is - it is truly her greatest gift. We recently learned that this "gift" has extended to her peers in the classroom. And, that bring us around to the tale of tattling.

Mr. Field: "Zoe is doing quite well.  She has an avid interest in her peers."
Dr. Womack: "Hmm." (He knew what was coming...)
Mr. Field: "But, she seems to have missed some of the lessons from the school assembly last week on tattling."

Wait, what?  There was a school assembly on tattling? Tell me more.

Zoe searching for iguanas
during our vacation to Mexico
It seems that all children at Marvin Elementary learned a valuable lesson that week. When you have something to tell, you need to ask yourself: (1) Is my goal to get someone in trouble? If yes, keep it to yourself. (2) Is someone at risk of being hurt? If yes, tell someone.

What's the difference?  Picture a family - if your sibling isn't being safe, what would you do? If they are at risk or in danger, you would most likely get help for them. Shouldn't the same be true of our fraternal brothers and sisters? As I go about my day serving students, I often encounter things that I classify as the "absurdity of life". Most of the time, these things are funny and silly moments. On occasion, there is more. That difference is where we, as a community, move to a sense of accountability.

We have a duty to protect one another. We have an obligation to take care of each other. We are a family - a family that acts when someone is at risk of being hurt. Who do you tell? Tell your president, tell your advisor, tell me... Don't sit back and wait until someone really is hurt.  As chapter members and friends - you owe this to one another. The concerns can range - financial issues, drug use, depression/loneliness, eating disorders - be willing to move to accountability. Trust each other. Trust in the accountability. Trust.

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