Say you are sitting in Starbucks and you see a woman with a stroller who is struggling to open the door.
You have a choice. Either return to your
issue of Glamour newspaper while using your stealth peripheral vision to see who goes to help the woman or you go and hold the door open for the woman.
Say you decide to help the woman. Your morals, your belief in how to behave in any situation, requires you to act. She will say thank you, you will reply with “Oh, it’s no problem!” but inside you are secretly full of glee at having a captive audience of Starbucks drinkers notice your good deed. Coupled with an audience watching your moment of kindness is the inside standing ovation your heart gives itself when acting on your morals aligns with doing something that you know is kind.
Now pretend that the door was 20 pounds heavier. Or that opening it meant someone would be guaranteed your seat the second you left it. Or that before you could open the door, you had to fill out 3 forms and get consent from your boss. Or that you would be required to pay in order to open the door. Would you still do it? Would you hesitate? How far do your morals stretch?
This past week has been a defining week for me. In my passport of Life on the page titled “Discovered What’s Worth Fighting For”, I have gained a new stamp. I’ve traveled somewhere I’ve never been- truly fighting for something that I believe in and is worth risking my job and at times, the friendship of co-workers. I have sent dozens of emails, had countless meetings and have received more than one warning about “rocking the boat”.
But with every angry administrator, every co-worker who calls me naive, every hot tear I’ve shed after leaving another office after being told ‘no‘ yet again- I’ve found a community willing to help pay for students in my class to participate in a field trip that they can’t afford. I’ve received funds to use from both strangers and friends, but even more importantly- I’ve gained a greater insight into how kind people can be when given a chance. I’ve had co-workers walk up and give me $20 in the hallway and have received emails and donations from people all over the world just looking for an opportunity to align their morals with an act bigger than themselves.
So this is a thank you. For those who have spent the last week having to read each tweet regarding ski trips and frustration and tears and didn’t delete my ass. Who reminded me that my morals, my belief that school is a place for ALL students to experience amazing opportunities, regardless of financial status or personal background. And that when your morals leave you feeling alone, it’s always better to push forward towards those who are willing to support you rather than take a step back and give up on yourself and those you are fighting for.
I’m going to keep pushing forward, against what “has always been done” and what “everyone” wants. I’m going to keep pushing against the current of mediocrity and convenience. Rather than feeling exhausted, I feel like this is only just one of many battles I will wage and I’m prepared. As Malcom Muggeridge said “Only dead fish swim with the stream.”
My school cancelled the swimming lessons we usually take every May because they didn’t want to pay for the school bus transportation to and from the pool. I’ve decided we are going to go anyway.
I will keep you posted.