Thursday, March 27, 2008

80 children

80 children sat on the floor on a very large rug. In the middle of the rug was a stack of blank paper and a box of crayons. Well, two boxes of 64... because there were 80 children.

One child only wanted to color in blues. Another one wanted stencils and tempura paint because they didn't want the responsibility of a blank piece of paper (too much imagination required). Another child wanted to peel the paper off all the crayons. Yet another wanted to break the crayons, complain that they were broken, and demand new ones. Some kid just started yelling because they wanted control of the boxes of crayons, and no one would give the kid the boxes. Pretty soon 80 kids were crying and whining and generally making so much noise that the crayons and the pieces of paper seemed to be the entire problem.

Ironically, they'd be the solution if the 80 kids would just shut up and do something productive... like start drawing and coloring.

No one's making these 80 kids even sit in this room. No one's telling them who they can and can't color with, and no one's telling them they can't color by themselves.

Seems that one kid colored on another kids jeans and won't apologize for it. The kid that got colored on, hit the first kid in the face, and he was told to apologize and get over it. That first kid? Some adult gave him a new piece of paper and some crayons and used one of those pacifying voices that says "now Johnny, you know you shouldn't have done that" and then turned their attention back to the book they were reading when all the kids were still quietly coloring.

But that kid with the color on his pants? He's still pretty pissed. Pretty soon he's whined to the kid next to him, and everyone else who would listen. An inadvertent game of telephone was started. That other kid? He overheard his name mentioned and started talking to his friends as well. Now we've got an "us vs. them" situation with two groups of kids, and a third group of kids has returned to coloring quietly, too afraid or simply uninterested in choosing sides, and just wanting to stay out of the way when the crayons start getting thrown.

There are 3 adults overseeing this group. They are tired, bored of whining about crayons, and sick of trying to get anyone to do anything. I think they'd medicate all 80 kids with Ritalin if they could.

The stupid thing is that when that one kid colored on another kid's pants... that kid should've been dealt with better. But you know, he was the child of a wealthy parent, so he wasn't gonna get really dealt with. That other kid... the one with color on his pants... his dad isn't so wealthy and respected in the community. So he's told to act right and fly straight, despite the fact that it's HIS pants with crayon all over them.

That kid asked for help from the adults. He asked for the adults to make it right, make the rich kid apologize. The adults said that it was the rich kid's responsibility to apologize if he wanted to. Well, that just pissed off the kid with the crayon on his pants even more. Even his dad got pissed. Now most people know about the crayon incident, and even if the kids still color together on that rug, now some are wary of getting their pants colored on and others are afraid there's nothing they can do if it happens, and they don't trust the adults to take care of them. The adults don't really care that they aren't trusted; at least, they don't do anything to change the perception. For example, that rich kid still hasn't had to apologize, even though he's managed to draw on that poor kid's shoes, his paper, and even tore one of the kids drawings in two and laughed about it.

Many of you will find this amusing because we've all heard of kids acting like this. Some will think that no one in their right mind would put 80 kids under the supervision of 3 adults. Fear not, this is just a parable and an analogy for 80 adults and 3 leaders.

Quite frankly, I think that some adults need to quit being kids already.


Little Bald Bastard said...

You are the Signature Hero of allegory.

Margo Crawford said...

I try.

arbonnais said...

I think I might just go color with some other kids.