Tuesday, June 15, 2010

See and Say

Two of the best compliments I have received over the last couple of weeks came from a parent of a student at my school and the President/CEO of Patersononline.net, Luisa Rosario. The parent told me that "I don’t play" and she wished that she had had a principal like me when she was in school and that if she had, she might have done better in school. At that point I knew I was heading in the right direction because this was a parent who in many instances fought me when I stood my ground in imparting high expectations and standards at the school. The second compliment came from Ms. Rosario when she was presenting me with an award for being one of the contributors to Patersononline.net, an online magazine where you can also find me blogging. During her introduction of me she said, “He’s blunt, and when you see his articles, it is his writing and not mine.” I concurred with Luisa’s assessment wholeheartedly and thanked her for the compliment. Yes I am unashamedly blunt.
I share both of these scenarios with you because if we are going to progress, we will need people who see issues that need to be addressed and will say something about it and then take it a step further and do something about it. When I was a child there was a Mattel toy called See and Say that allowed toddlers and infants to pull a string or pull down a lever and whatever the large arrow in the center of the toy stopped on, the toy would say whatever the picture was that the arrow was pointing to hence the name "See and Say." New York currently has a slogan that says "If you see something; say something,” encouraging people to report suspicious activities. I must agree; If you see something, say something. Time is out for us being afraid and scared to address issues that are literally killing us mentally, physically and spiritually.

As we see mis-education, we have to say something. As we see boys and men walking around exposing their boxer shorts with their pants sagging, we have to say, “Pull them up.” As we see young girls and boys “sexting” on their cell phones, we have to say something. As we see boys and girls who think playing is hitting each other , we have to say something. As we see people littering by dropping their chip bags, gum wrappers, and McDonald’s bags on the street, we have to say something. As we see people talking on their cell phones while driving, endangering their lives and ours, we have to say something. As we see men wearing twisted caps in buildings such as schools and churches, we have to say something.

By now I think you get my point. To stand silent is to become a part of the problem. To stand silent is to condone the very behavior that you complain about to everyone else. To stand silent in the midst of all of this chaos will help the chaos to continue. So like the Mattel toy when you see something that needs to be addressed, don’t be afraid to say something. Say it and act upon it.  I end with a quote from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. where he says "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." I encourage you to don't let your life begin to end. More to critically think about and as always, I welcome your commentary.

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