Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dignity

At the end of my hike, I saw a biker who made a sudden turn up the trail as he yelled, "Mrs. Martinez!" Ahhhh, how sweet to be acknowledged by a student with a burst of excitement.

I received an email from a student today: Mrs Martinez? I miss you

Ahhh, how sweet it was. 

I received a different email today from yet another student-- It read: 

The music department is having a fundraiser for our upcoming tour. For part of this fundraiser, we are hoping to duct tape teachers to the wall. We were wondering if you would be willing to participate. This would be super helpful in getting us to our festival which will be a great educational experience. 

After a 10 second pause to shake off the shock, I said "Oh no," loud enough to alert Tony's worry radar.

"What?" he called from the other room with only a slight tone of distress.

When I explained the invitation, he smiled and asked, "Will you do it?"

Honestly, I didn't know whether to be flattered or insulted. Did the student send it out to 20 different teachers hoping for a jovial, good natured sucker?

I can't think of anything worse than all that attention in such a precarious position. Besides, what would I wear?

After explaining all the reasons for not allowing myself to be duck taped to the wall, Tony nailed what it was really about: dignity. "You really need to keep your dignity."

Dignity: the quality or state of being worthy of honor and respect.

As I contemplate keeping my dignity in such a humorous situation, I can't help but think about more serious times, of Nixon's lack of dignity when he resigned from the office of President for his involvement in Watergate, and President Clinton's denial of his liaison with an intern half his age and later admitting the truth.

I just watched a CNN/Anderson Cooper report on the activities of the DNC Donald Duck debacle. Cooper had the dignity to entertain the possibility of wrongdoing especially when the accused, two men caught on video, resigned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ1qT-XtNk0. The defenders, the men in question, all seem to have traded their dignity. Apparently, dignity is an easy thing to toss around depending on the cause.

I recently saw a compelling movie: The Light Between Oceans. A husband and wife unable to have children, make a decision to keep quiet about a baby they save from a drifting boat. This one decision causes heartache and havoc for the rest of their lives and the child's life. Throughout the movie, I kept thinking, if only they'd done the right thing in the beginning...

It can be difficult to make the right decision in an emotional, stressful situation, but what if we paused and asked, Am I trading my dignity, the right to be worthy of respect and honor for this action?

In the end, I offered a compromise to the student. What if I paid my way out of this? Let me know what a teacher usually earns for the cause and I'll triple it! Not really... but I can't think of a better cause...and it's not for the music department tour; the price is to keep my dignity!