"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Words on the Back of a Chair

I had a teacher in Junior High - I'll call her Mrs. Smith - who, looking back, was a great teacher.   She was very passionate, she loved her students, and she sincerely wanted everyone to do well.   She was also very no-nonsense, and ran a very tight ship.   She was not popular with the students.

I remember coming into her classroom one day, and immediately seeing on the chalkboard, in big bold letters:

"Mrs.  Smith is a douche bag.

And it was written in the teacher's handwriting.

One by one, everyone noticed it.  There was giggling, and whispering, and pointing, until someone finally asked her why she'd written it.   She matter-of-factly told us that she'd found it written on the back of one of the chairs, so she wanted to share it with the whole class.  (Then someone asked, "What's a dutch bag?"  And everyone laughed at his expense, and the class got started.  But I couldn't stop thinking about it.)

At the time, I didn't really understand why she did it, except maybe to embarrass or shame the person who'd written it on the chair.  I was amazed that she didn't seem upset about it, and in awe that she shared it with a bunch of 6th grade students.

As an adult though, I get it.  She was just taking back her own power.  She was owning who she was, and who she was not.   She was reducing the words to what they really were:  just words.  Words that said far more about the person who wrote them than about her.  She wasn't defined by those words.  She was the same person before and after she'd ever found those unfortunate words on the back of that chair. 

As a blogger who's made myself a little more public, I've encountered my fair share of "Mrs. Smith is a douche bag" chairs.  And they don't change who I am either.   So following her awesome example,  consider this my virtual chalkboard..... just a few of the comments about (or to) me that I've gotten over the past couple of months:

She's a total fruiter. I think she might just be a terrible writer who is not fabulous at expressing well rounded ideas. You know the airy fairy, wants-to-pretend the world is sunshine & rainbows type. Sorry I'm not buying it.

That blog is an excellent illustration of why I don't read 'mummy' blogs. It's nauseating. 

What a self centered and ultimately destructive way to parent

What a load of crap

I see some very harsh lesson ahead for her poor kids

I could barely gag it down, and in the end I just wanted to smack the author

This chica is waaaay off her rocker

She says she values the relationship she has with her kids.  Pity she's not thinking a little further ahead at the relationships other children WON'T be having with her kids due to their obnoxious behaviour

Absolutely negligent parenting

Oh stop being so sensible. Let us get all hysterical and speculate on her kids growing up to be selfish juvenile delinquents who beat the elderly in their own homes. 

you are a pretty lousy parent if you never show your kids that there are consequences to their actions. Isn't that a life lesson? 

So basically, she's saying that she cares more about having her children like her 100% of the time than she cares about them learning how to treat others.

You are an idiot - and when your child grows up to be a murderer, or beats his wife, or drives drunk into a school, he can just say, "it's only a life" or it's "only a woman", because you'll have taught them that they can do whatever they like & there will be no consequences. 

I understand you don't know what 'grown up' means, you don't know what 'child' means either in your "unparenting" skills. I feel you are just lazy and attached to your computer. Can't make any friends, so you will keep your kids at your side to support you.  As some have said, you are my dear, off your (expletive)ing rocker!

I feel for your kids and your hubby.

Just words on the back of a chair.  I know who I am, and my friends know who I am.  My family knows who I am.  Unkind words on a computer screen don't change that.

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