at furman, i had a wonderful faculty advisor named dr. blazer. she was warm and witty and i just KNEW that i was her favorite...
until the day that my coconspirator in most crimes, dina, and i were late to class one day (ok so we were late to class on a frequent basis. hey, we were coconspirators in crimes, we were very busy). as we walked into class, our professor dr. blazer (who we LOVED and who we thought was rather fond of us until this little incident) asked in a loud and irritated voice, “WHY did you girls CHOOSE to be late to class?”
we attempted to defend ourselves with a plethora of excuses that we felt presented overwhelming proof that we could bear NO responsibility whatsoever for our lateness (the universe was to blame being the main theme of our diatribe). dr. blazer maintained that it was OUR CHOICE to be late and that we needed to CHOOSE to be on time for this day into the future or their would be dire consequences (insert dire consequences music here).
soooo, like the good southern baptist girls we were (no comment from anyone on that please, this is MY story), we were on time the following day. only to discover that there was NO one in the classroom. however there was a note on the board saying that class was moved to another room. by the time we reached the other room, guess what... we were late.
we attempted to again justify our lateness with the “we didn’t know the class was moved and so this is certainly NOT our fault this time” speech full of passion and righteousness. to this valiant effort dr. blazer calmly said, “it was still your choice. if you had chosen to be on time yesterday, you would have known that we were moving class today. your lateness today was part of the choices you made yesterday.”
well, this seemed totally unfair and unkind to us (at the time) and we couldn’t believe that a teacher who we thought cared about us would judge us in this way. but i can not tell you how many times a week, that speech comes back to me as i realize how right dr. blazer was and how grateful i am that she tried to teach us that lesson. i use her very words with my own children all the time as i attempt to teach them that our choices MATTER and our choices have consequences. some consequences are immediate (the late to class that day) and some come later and with unforeseen results (late to class the next day).
dr. blazer was kind and wise and she was right. it was my choice to be late that day and i hope that she has forgiven me and i hope that i am still her favorite...
another lesson that dr. b taught me came from my actual student teaching experience. the lead teacher had this one little boy in the class that she always made sit in the way back corner because of some infraction he had committed. he wasn’t the best behaved, but nothing really as serious as a glasgow kiss or anything really mean spirited. when dr. b was there one time, she asked why that boy was always separated from the group and i told her that i didn’t really understand why the teacher came down on him so hard all of the time.
she said, “he must be wearing someone else’s face for her.”
and i totally didn’t understand that. but i thought about it. a lot. for a few days. it was a statement that i had never heard before and i knew that dr. b was wise (the whole choices thing) and i really wanted to know what she had meant.
and then those words began to make sense to me. because i had done that same thing to other people before. i would be mad at one person and let someone else wear their face and punish the second person. i still find myself doing that sometimes. and then i hear dr. b’s voice, “he must be wearing someone else’s face for her.” and i see that little boy’s sad eyes. and i work like all heck to forgive the first person. and for the faces that people wear to be faces that i love... their own faces.