Tuesday, May 26, 2009

how we (and jesus) deal

To my immense dismay, I was not involved in a particular conversation my principal reported last week but I can imagine it perfectly, and it represents one of our major obstacles as educators of Today's Youth: partying is far more fulfilling than earning a diploma.

Two essential pieces of background: (1) Both of the key students in the conversation have previously asserted in my class, apropos of nothing much, that there is no God. And rest assured, taxpaying public, I was not at all argumentative except when they later made comments to the effect that there is a God, he's just ignoring some people; then I asked them to clarify their position. Even so, it was not a lengthy or detailed discussion [one of our other major obstacles = weary apathy after a few minutes of taxing thought] but they did bring up the topic before. And (2) both of these students are ardent stoners.

So these gentlemen offered up another non sequitur to our principal the other day by way of trying to justify their habit. Wait for it.
Jesus brought weed to the Native Americans.

Feel free to laugh; we did. Because what else can we do? Facts like Native Americans were generally not potheads and, um, Jesus didn't live in America only confuse the matter; they want to believe what gets them through the day and currently, what we're teaching is unfortunately not it. Cracking a smile keeps us from dissolving into tears.

Actually, we do engage in dialogue - gently entertaining their theories while presenting key information, all wrapped in a sincere if not a little bit desperate hope that they will believe how much we want to see them succeed. And by "succeed" we generally mean "not die young and sad." Of course we would relish seeing them overcome their dismal pasts, discover their passions, follow the dreams they keep pushing aside.

But we survive, day to day, by making sure they live through the six hours we're together and inviting them to return the next morning, if only to try proving yet again how God [who may or may not exist] approves of smoking weed.

Hallelujah & peace out.