I’m not sure what made me remember this story this morning — I might have been thinking about a thread on some blog where we were talking about being or not being confrontational. I’ve often said that in some ways I have the mind and heart of a maverick, but in temperament I’m also a peacemaker and conformist, which can lead to internal confusion for me. When a conflict arises I sometimes have to be pushed fairly hard before I’ll speak my mind, but then you might be surprised by what comes out of my mouth.
I was a full or part-time home-schooler from 5th grade onward; the only school I’ve ever graduated from was BYU. In high school I mostly took choir, drama, seminary, and French, and then my junior and senior years took several AP courses. So, one day I was sitting quietly in the student lounge at my high school, waiting for a ride to come pick me up, or maybe I had a break between classes. The class bell had rung several minutes before, and there were four or five students on the other side of the student lounge, goofing around and laughing. Then along came a vice principal, whose name I’ve forgotten but whom I recall as a balding, wiry, bespectacled man. He angrily shooed the other kids back to their classes, and confronted me next, hovering over me and shouting that I should get back to class. Shaking a little, I explained my part-time status and that I didn’t have class right now and that it was really cold outside so I was waiting inside. He softened just a bit, and said, “Well, for you that’s okay then,” but couldn’t resist adding, “But those other kids were acting like children!”
Through clenched teeth, I spat out: “They act like children because you treat them like children!”
He stormed off and I don’t think we ever had occasion to speak to each other again.