Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Tuck Rule

Rules are rules and sometimes they are a pain to know how to enforce. This is from May 18, 2011.
I passed Patrick as I left school this afternoon and he told me goodbye for the day. Patrick is a junior and new to WCS this year. He's also very bright and personable and has a wonderful sister named Princess who happens to be in his same section of my Gospels class. Patrick also has a problem; his uniform shirt does not want to stay tucked into his uniform khaki pants. Our policy is that shirts must be tucked and I have seen detentions issued for non-compliance. I don't think I have ever given a detention for the offense. Most students- and the rule includes girls- do a good job with the rule. I have Patrick right after lunch and he habitually would come in untucked. I would remind (warn) him and he would immediately and apologetically get back into dress code. I understand that sometimes shirts come out accidentally and sometimes it is a deliberate act. Patrick fell into the accidental, or at least careless, category.

One day, I shifted gears with Patrick. In front of the class, I told him I would give the entire class a percentage point on their next test if he could go one week without my reminding him about his shirt. He accepted the challenge but more importantly, the class became invested in Patrick's wardrobe. His attention to the details of his grooming could alter the outcome of their grade and ultimately, their GPA. (I harp on the fractional difference in being in or out of the top 10% in their class which is a huge deal in Texas college admission.) Suddenly, the classmates were reminding Patrick and  making sure his uniform met the handbook guidelines. Guess what? He made it. All of my reminders and low-key threats had little impact on Patrick.  But, the encouragement of the young men and women whose scores would benefit by his
obedience changed his perspective and it changed their test marks. It was a pretty good lesson for me. One size doesn't fit all in school or among believers. The scriptures remind us that we have different talents and abilities which means we have different motivations. The first lesson I learned the first day  I coached girls was....... they aren't boys. Now, they still have to keep their shirts tucked in but they will respond uniquely. So did Patrick (who approved this blog) and so do all of us. The  compassionate involvement of Christian brothers and sisters in lifting up the fallen and broken carries more weight than the condemnations which are often the staple of churches. Most of us are well aware of when we sin. We thrive when we are discovered and acknowledged to be on the right path. And we know from the teaching of the Savior that can be one narrow pathway. Patrick is heading in the right direction.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Rules are not necessarily sacred; principles are."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Clint said...