Good morning, Spartans!
I hope you had a weekend that was as awesome as all of you… on this cold morning we eagerly await the warmth that is brought by your presence! This months Spartan Way characteristic is integrity. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. This often starts with how we view the world and others around us, and so I want to take a moment to share some thoughts that I hope will challenge you to continue to develop your character and integrity.
None of you chose the situations of your birth. You did not choose your parents, you did not choose your looks (hair color, eye color, ear size, etc.), you did not choose the wealth of the family you live with, you did not choose your race or ethnicity, you did not choose your intelligence, and yet many of those things are common reasons that teenagers pick on others in school. The color of your eyes, the color of your skin, your cultural background, the money your parents have, are all things that you have no control over. Making fun of someone for the quality of clothes they wear, how they look, or the color of their skin only shows the ignorance of the person that is doing the picking. If you were blind you would not be able to make fun of people for these things, and would judge them only based on how they treat you. Then again, if you were blind people may be making fun of you… for something you had no control over. Isn’t it ridiculous?
The reality is that those who treat other’s so poorly are running from something. They are attempting to compensate for a part of their being that they are embarrassed by, or a low self-esteem that requires them to derive their self-worth from how poorly they treat others. If you are friends with these people, consider whether or not you want to be known as that person. If you are that person, consider whether or not you would be happy if you knew what others really thought of you. Instead of picking on others for things that they cannot control, perhaps you should be appreciative of your fortune and work to bring joy into their lives by treating them well when others may not.
How we treat those around us is how we will be defined by those who spend time with us each day… not the money in our wallet, the type of car we drive, the important titles we hold, the name brand on our clothing, color of our skin, attractiveness, or intelligence. All of those things mean nothing if you treat people poorly because there are very few who respect and look up to people who are rude.
If you have ever found yourself the focus of someone else’s attack, you have likely wished that someone would stand up for you. Many of you have likely heard another student being picked on. What have you done in that moment? I think it is human nature to ignore it, or act like you don’t notice it. When it is a friend picking on someone else you likely feel somewhat uncomfortable, but don’t want to say anything for fear that your friends will no longer think you are cool. What is the reason that so few people step in and ask that the aggressor stop their attack? I would argue that we are afraid that person will redirect their attacks on us. Simply asking the aggressor politely to stop is sufficient because it lends support to the person being picked on.
I strongly believe that there is more good in this world than bad, and that most people listening to someone that is picking on another person find it bothersome, but so many remain silent. I encourage you to stand up for your peers. My challenge to you is to do what is right even though you may be ridiculed for it. Stand up for what is decent and good. Live a life in which others see integrity, stand up for what is right, and you will make a difference in this school, this community, and the world. Go Spartans!
Have a week that is as awesome as each of you!
Mr. Elias M. Cox
Garden Spot High School