By: Mr. Lu
Mr. Pike is Awesome
Late, last summer, I was deep in the BC interior, away from any towns or city lights. I was standing in a field as absolute darkness crept in, and the sky overhead loomed vast, empty, and wide. The stillness, the enormousness of it all, made me feel absurdly tiny, and right then, I knew I was part of something greater.
Fast forward to advisory. Mr. Anthony recently finished lecturing the school about cafeteria plates left all about, and the conversation was quick and furious. Everyone acknowledged the problem, and some even admitted guilt. Blame and finger pointing were roundly passed around, and several solutions, some serious and some ridiculous and angry, were proposed. The overarching theme was entitlement. Why does it exist? How do we stop it?
Fast forward to another advisory. My grade 12 panel was sharing what education was like in other countries. Kaan talked about school in Turkey, and Joy explained education in China. It’s different, they said. It’s tougher. And then, the entitlement theme rears again. Do students at this school think they should be given good marks? Do students feel entitled to high marks?
The discussion spilled into my other classes. “If your parents wanted to buy you a car as a present,” I asked. “Would you take it, or would you decline because you wanted to earn it?” We talked in circles, but in the unspoken center was entitlement.
I think one of the solutions lies in empathy. When you can see another’s point of view, you begin to see less of yourself. When you understand there is something greater than yourself, you become less selfish, and less demanding of your rights. If I leave the plate here, someone has to clean it up. If I demand a higher grade, it cheapens the value of another’s grade and hard work. This is why what Mr. Pike does is so valuable. When a student is sent to his office, he is helping them see beyond themselves. “Look at it from another view,” he says, “do you understand why what you did can be construed as negative?” He isn’t punishing. He is teaching. The lesson is empathy.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it,” Harper Lee wrote in To Kill a Mockingbird. One of the last scenes has Scout standing on Boo Radley’s porch. For that brief, powerful moment, she sees from his eyes, and she shares his experiences. She grows up. This growing up, this empathy, this anti-entitlement, this education, this is the hope of what we want to be here at school.
“Atticus, he was real nice…” His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”