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Monday, September 30, 2013

7th Graders & Goats

Some creatures have very well defined roles to play, per their evolution through the millennia.  Those who have tried to raise goats know that one of the primary reasons for their existence is to locate and proceed through any breaches in the fence on your property.  Goats are exceptionally adept at this trouble-shooting role, providing a marvelous service to the land owner. 

7th graders have a similar evolutionary role: they break any items on a school campus that are of non-Sherman-tank-type construction.   Like goats, they provide a valuable service to the adults in charge of the property. 

Sometimes we delude ourselves into thinking we can change these natural states.  We embark on missions to fundamentally “correct” these perceived flaws in the natural order.  The result is frustration, contentiousness, angst, and almost always, disappointment.  Futility abounds!

Far better to simply takes into account the natural order, and learn from it:
> Understanding that floods occur in low-lying areas should inform what and how we build in those areas.
> Understanding that males and females are different in fundamental ways should inform how we work with both.
> Understanding that 7th graders will destroy peonishly-constructed stuff should inform the kinds of purchases we make in middle schools.
> Understanding that goats will find gaps in fences should inform how and where we construct fences.

Our time/effort is best spent deepening our understandings, not crafting schemes to alter the realities. 

It really boils down to using what we learn to alter ourselves rather than trying to alter the “other.”  

Wisdom is a grasping and acceptance of reality, and learning to work within its constraints.

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