Whose Fault Is It? – #1LinerWeds

This past Sunday, Pam posted a thought-provoking post about changing the world. That might be a slight exaggeration, but maybe not. Then on Monday, Mary talked about anger and hatred. Among other things, Pam talked about not passing negative traits onto children, and Mary talked about controlling your own anger. Those links will open in new windows, if you want to go read them, go ahead, I can wait.

I started to write a comment on Pam’s post, and I realized that I might end up with a longer comment than I should post. You know, when your comment is longer than the post that inspired it. Then I realized that my comment was well suited to Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt. So here we are.

In the summer between the 1999-2000 and the 2000-2001 school years, our town’s high school principal resigned. Our daughter was going into 11th grade, and I had become tangled up in over a dozen school committees. In case you don’t know this, schools are like churches, when they need volunteers, the first people they ask are ones who have already volunteered for something. I was asked to serve on the selection committee tasked with finding a new principal.

I will skip the part about how this process was manipulated by a truly malevolent woman, resulting in the hiring a personal friend of hers who was unqualified, unlikable, and obnoxious. The process was supposed to be quite simple. We were to choose six candidates from thirteen resumes whom we would interview. We would then recommend three finalists from whom the School Board would select a principal. Since I am sure at least one of you wants to hear the part I planned to skip, as the devil in the Twilight Zone episode “Escape Clause” said, I’ll give it to you, thumbnail.

Thirteen resumes became fourteen. Three finalists became four, and the fourth candidate had second thoughts, apparently, about all his bad answers during our interview because when he interviewed with the Board, the Board Members like his answers to the very questions where we disliked his answers. He was selected, served for two unremarkable years and moved on.

In addition to this bozo being treated better than the rest, one candidate was treated differently than the rest. He was a Vice Principal, the person usually in charge of discipline. He was asked a question no other candidate was asked. He was asked to opine on the rising number of students with disciplinary problems of a social nature – the kinds of problems Pam and Mary mentioned. He reminded us that since high schools in Connecticut include grades 9 – 12, that he saw students as young as 13 years old.

“When I see thirteen- and fourteen-year-old children exhibit the kind of behavior that I think you’re asking about, I have to conclude that somewhere, an adult has failed to do their job.”

Since there were adults in the room who no doubt would have preferred to hear him blame Hollywood and video game makers, his answer was not well received. I thought it was brilliant, and I told him so.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you would like to join in on the fun, you can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.

82 comments

      1. Oh I would – right now we are back to air conditioning!! Somebody please tell the weather that it’s still February!! You send that storm down here and it will melt before it gets here!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Last photo is fab. As for the bad child behavior argument… it comes down to nature vs nature again doesn’t it? Perfect parents can have a bad seed and horrible parents can raise a Nobel prize winner. Kids. They’re a crapshoot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maddie wants to go for a walk, but it’s too cold. By the time she’s done in the yard, she’s shivering and limping. But then, five minutes in the house on the couch and she wants to go.

      Like

  2. I love your one-liner, Dan, and share your opinion that it is brilliant. As always, your photos are beautiful. We’re deep into a cold spell, and though we have no snow, ice is everywhere. Stay warm! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think there is an Orwell quote about stating the truth in an age that refuses to hear it. I think the Apostle Paul also had something to say about it. The truth is that it is the parents responsibility to raise and educate their children. They may turn to the state for help, but they are still responsible before our Creator.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the reminders, Dan, of what things are like in snow country. I really liked seeing the snow blower in action and chuckled as seeing Maddie’s dismembering of the stuffed toy. Artistically, I always love your long shadows and the lighting and composition in the final photo really grabbed me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post Dan. The one place you would think people would pull together and do what is right for our children is the educational system. Why am I not surprised? And this is what our children are learning, by watching. And they are incredibly vigilant.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The vice principal’s answer was spot on and the reason why the world’s in such a mess now…no one wants to take personal responsibility for their actions or attitudes. Well said. Too bad he didn’t run for president…wait. he probably has more sense than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true, Frank. I think most of the upset people have with schools being in “remote learning” mode is due to they fact that they look at schools as daycare. I think children learn better in the classroom, but learning should start at home,

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the link, Dan. The Vice-Principal was right in his answer. A friend and I were talking about this the other day…how it’s easy to blame a TV show, or the price of gas, or a rock at the end of the driveway for a child’s behavior rather than take responsibility and deal with it. Adults are supposed to adult with good examples, not bad excuses and choices.

    Ha! Maddie is the Queen of removing squeakers. It’s her royal duty!

    Have a cozy and lazy Wednesday. The cold is telling us we deserve it. 😏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks to you and Pam for the inspiration on this post, Mary. Like you say, it’s easy to blame things we can’t control, but parents can control a lot, if they have the courage.

      Once Maddie gets a new toy, she won’t rest until the squeaker is gone. She has some older toys that are complete, but mainly because we take them away if she starts killing them.

      I have to clean up a little of the left over snow, but mostly a lazy day here.

      Take care.

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  8. A gold star for you and the Vice-Principal! Terrific one-liner. Good grief! What horrible role models those adults were. You gotta wonder about their upbringing. 🤔

    Great winter pictures. Love the loooonng shadow of you and Maddie. I’m still laughing over Maddie’s treat. It doesn’t matter if the toy cost $3.99 or $29.99, it takes the same amount of time and effort for Maddie and Murphy to relieve them of their squeakers, stuffing, and in Murphy’s case, the right rear leg!

    Oola is a beautiful girl. Maddie has great friends.

    The last photo looks like a Thomas Kinkaid painting!

    It’s a challenge, but I hope all of you stay warm and cozy.
    Ginger

    Think positive. Test negative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. I think it’s so funny about Murphy and the right rear leg. Maddie removed the ears and all four feet from this wiener dog. Oola doesn’t come to the fence very often, She’s lumbers around the yard.

      We’re trying to stay warm. I have some work to do outside, but it won’t take long.

      Take care.

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    1. I have no idea, Peter. They appear during snow storms and in the summer, we see spider webs that have that same shape in those same shrubs. There might be a story in there for you ;-)

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  9. I loved the answer of the Vice-Principal. Yeah, there are lousy examples that kids can follow, but it takes a parent to keep things in perspective. Too often, when greatness comes along, people can’t handle the obvious truth and reject it. I found that a lot in the volunteer segment of education. The photos are great, Dan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In general, volunteering for the school was an example of no good deed going unpunished. You could volunteer your time (I took two vacation days for these interviews) but woe be unto you if you disagreed with the plan.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. I checked about a week ago and there was 2% ice coverage. We have had temps in the 20s and it should continue for another 10 days. The NOAA map is saying it is close to 50% coverage now. And that means less lake affect snow and less lake affect clouds.

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  10. ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person’–that is so very true. Your Vice-Principal knew more about kids than the other parents cared to admit. Such a great response. Maddie and her new toy…..I bought the cats a new catnip toy. Day One they were excited about it. Day Two Pumpkin ripped all the catnip out of it and destroyed the toy. Imagine she and Maddie in a room full of toys….!! That Morse Code is a really pretty photo, Dan. Artsy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha – I love it when the cats tear into the catnip and then pass out. I’m glad you like the Morse Code shot, Lois. I’ve tried to get that several times, but they have always come out crummy. It might be because I’m trying to keep Maddie from jumping out – “it snowed, it snowed, it snowed” vs “hang on while I get a picture.”

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ultimately the parents of course but there is a handle needed on discipline in schools.  When my kids were teens in the 80s it was a lot different but each generation seems to get looser in what is allowed where.  That is one reason my daughter started homeschooling my grandkids and it has worked out well with each one excelling and on through college.  Now with open carry laws and people feeling free to express their anger everywhere and guns in every pocket, I feel they are a lot safer out of school.  The kids in our family get socialization from a lot of outside activities.  Just my opinion.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dan, love all the photos. The Snow is so beautiful & brings me back to my New England living days. Maddie & creatures always make me smile. Shaking my head at the school principal selection. Not good role modeling. A shout out for the vice principal’s conclusion. “An adult has failed to do their job,” is always the answer. Unfortunately that’s not what school boards want to hear. Bring kids back into the family as members contributing to the the well-being of the family. It worked years ago for me. I had my everyday & seasonal “chores” that were important to do for the good of the family. But then, we had a rotary telephone and no TV. I just had an old bicycle, a red wagon, a sled and the wide open, safe neighborhood to play in. I know, years ago is not today. 📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like how I grew up, Christine. There are many more variables today, but I think there are still fundamental lessons that are best taught at home. They can be taught in the classroom as well, but it takes a special teacher to weave things like ethics and morals into math and science.

      We went a little over a month with no snow and then we got covered. It looks like it will be with us for a while. I have to say, I like it better than dead grass.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The good old days, huh, Dan! I agree and have those talks with my granddaughters with kids. So far they have been on target, but the kids are young. Let’s hope the lessons learned stick. I checked with my sister in Bethel, CT and they are snowed in too. I don’t tell her the temps here in CA. It’s only sweater weather! Sorry. 📚🎶 Christine

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Mom told a story about Dad. There was a parish meeting for all the parents of schoolkids (I was in 3rd grade, I think), at which a few of the busybodies were proposing rules for the teens, things like how they dressed at dances, what time they needed to be in on schoolnights vs. weekend nights, etc. Dad was sitting there, and Mom knew he was going to say something, and was a little scared because Dad could be rather terse at times. Question and answer time came around, and Dad stood up and said “If I tell my son to be home at 8:30, he’d better be home at 8:30, and the parish isn’t going to tell him he can be home at 9.” He almost got a standing ovation when he sat down, and the new pastor (who later left the priesthood and married my mother) stood up and thanked him. They became good friends after that…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s funny, John. I would have been one of the ones applauding. It’s a complex question, but I do think children should learn from their parents. I learned some key lessons in school, but from a small number of instructors. I’m still discovering things I learned from my parents.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Dan, that is indeed a brilliant answer and I’m glad you told him so. This reminds me of the one and only time I was on a similar committee (but cannot write about on my blog because small town). We interviewed two finalists and made our recommendation only to watch the “overseeing” group hire the woman who’d received the outgoing director’s kiss of approval. It was infuriating — she was nice enough but the candidate we recommended was better qualified and should have been offered the position. I swore I’d never be on one of those again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I figured that my story was not unique, Laura. It’s sad, but I’m sure it happens often.

      After I voiced my complaint to the Chairwoman of the School Board (who was present at both sets of interviews) those were my instructions to her – never ask me to serve again.

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  15. I would have to agree with him. The same goes for poorly trained dogs–it’s the owner’s fault. However, it’s the dogs that are annoying or barking all the time. Sigh. Yes, we have that problem next door to us. I know exactly what you mean about volunteers at church and what’s worse, once you volunteer, you’re there forever unless you forcefully resign. :-) I know that from personal experience. There was one very nice woman at a church we were members of many years ago who helped me learn to say “no”, not by example but because I was always asked to be doing something else or more. :-)

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had that experience at work, in church and in the school system. I went to one meeting, and my wife urged me “not to speak.” I came home on the Superintendent’s Parental Advisory Committee and that started everything – I should have listened to my wife.

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  16. Hi Dan – well what a great story … and so true, too often. Cronyism … such an unnecessary sign of weakness. I enjoyed the chilly pictures … and seeing Maddie with her toy … glad she came in from the cold … all the best – HIlary

    Liked by 1 person

  17. So true, Dan. On the day my youngest son graduated high school, I wept with gratitude to be free of that sociopolitical environment. Filled with narcissists, control freaks, bullies and suppressed educators, it was my main focus to get them through it all without permanent scars for them or for us. The truth is, those folks breathed a sigh of relief to see me go as well. If I taught my boys nothing else, it would be fairness, respect, diligence, responsibility and a love of learning. Kudos to you for being an integral part of the process on whatever level you could. Beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was a combination supporter of the system and rabid protector of our daughter’s rights. I threatened the principal they hired with everything from going to the Board, the press or dragging his butt into court to get what she deserved. It wasn’t over-the-top helicopter parent stuff, just making sure she could take the classes she needed to pursue a college education in art (which he felt was a waste of her intellect).

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      1. As if his opinion should rightly figure into her future. You did what was in her best interest and that is never to play games with self purported experts. And look how terrific she is at her work. 🙂

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  18. When the cause would be video games, it still domes down to the parent who buys them for their child. On of the adult kids (parent) lets her child work odd jobs, and he needs to by is own video games and other digital stuff. I thought that was a wise move.

    Liked by 1 person

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