This much power could go to your head

There are a few things that have been on my mind lately.

Every time I view a particular cable company ad on TV, I am distressed.  The ad portrays a young boy of ten or eleven years of age who sits in front of his computer declaring his power over everyone and everything in a most unsettling manner.  His parents look on, seemingly helpless.  It ends with the statement “This much power could go to your head.”

It confounds me as to how any company might believe the message conveyed in this ad would ever entice a parent to want to run out and sign up for their service.  It focuses on total negative control and, in my opinion, lacks any sense of humanity.

Then there was the photo in the newspaper last week of a local high school principal’s body, completely taped to the wall while students threw pies in his face.  Once more I felt it was a disturbing image and, again, shouts out “this much power could go to your head“.

Now I am not against having some fun.  Pie throwing in someone’s face can be just that – good-natured fun.  But there’s something about having somebody made powerless and then throwing pies in his face that takes the humor out of it for me.  For as responsible adults, aren’t we giving students the message that it’s okay to take advantage of situations such as this – the powerful versus the powerless?  And what stops students from deciding to body tape another student, perhaps against his will even, and throwing pies or squirting water at him?   After all, it’s already been condoned by the adults in their lives.  And, it’s just “for fun, right?”

With the subject of bullying so much on the minds of all of us who have children, don’t we need to be more mindful of the messages we deliver to our kids and the experiences to which they are exposed?

The reason for the pie-throwing event was to recognize academic achievement.  It seems to me there are numerous positive, encouraging ways to recognize the accomplishments of these students and to raise the bar for them, to respect their developing minds and ideals, to help them acknowledge and appreciate their progress.  We need to learn to trust our children’s intellectual curiosity and growth and allow them the opportunity to feel and comprehend their achievements from within.

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