Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I applaud the boy who shouted at his teacher (video in post)

Before I go on writing what I have to say regarding this topic I would like to make clear certain points to avoid being misunderstood as I have been when discussing this topic elsewhere. This topic will be a little deep so if you find it very shallow, and a simple discussion on who’s right and who’s wrong, who has the right to do what, you’ve missed the point.
1.       This is not a discussion on who’s right or who’s wrong. I will not mention who I think is right and wrong here and it is irrelevant in this discussion
2.       The manner in which the boy chose to react (shouting) is irrelevant. Again, not related to the point I’m driving across.
3.       Keep a very broad perspective. Do not use school rules (which is also irrelevant here) as a platform for forming any kind of decisions. If you start bringing up school rules you’re off topic.
4.       There will be a tendency for anyone reading this to bring up other irrelevant information/perspectives because they think it’s a discussion on whether the boy should have done what he did. Which brings us to 5.
5.       This is not a discussion on whether the boy should have done what he did. Which brings us to 6.
6.       This is an alternate perspective to see good in what may seem like a very negative incident.
7.       I take no sides when writing this post.
8.       This is what I choose to applaud because such values impress me. So don’t tell me what to applaud and what not to applaud(oh yeah, it happened lol)
9.       Read everything again carefully and REMEMBER to bear them in mind.
10.   I welcome any discussion so long I’m not misunderstood! Always appreciate a good discussion whether on alternate views or debating.
11.   If you’re still here I’m impressed with myself.
NOW, let me share my perspective.
If this boy believed what he is doing is wrong but did it anyway because he simply couldn’t control his aggression then nothing more needs to be said. He has attitude issues. In other words, if he acted based on ungrounded aggression, there’s nothing more to this but to talk about who’s right and who’s wrong which I do not wish to venture into.
But if this boy did it because he has matured ahead of his time and he has a set of values that includes self-respect, which seems quite possible based on certain things he shouted, then there is something to be said about what he did. If he acted because he believed he should not be shouted at and he had enough self-respect to stand up for himself, then regardless of whether he has the right to shout back, regardless of right or wrong, regardless of whether he should be shouted at or not, I applaud him.
Why? It shows character. If you think character is obeying commands without thought or basing it on a set of values, you’re mistaken. That’s society’s machines. This boy has character because firstly, he has self-respect. He respected himself enough to not subject himself to what he believed (I emphasize “WHAT HE BELIEVED”, before someone comes disagreeing) was disrespect to him and no human being should be subjected to such degrading action (except military perhaps where it would not be considered degrading). Secondly, he has the ability and guts to do so. He’s not another machine that take orders without any thought. I believe our upbringing has let many, myself once included, to be suppressed individuals. We are always taught to control, listen and obey. Our character, what’s left of it, are duplicates that are limited in our ability to express thought, creativity and emotion.
I applaud him because if he acted based on self-respect, he has just displayed the very same characteristics that got heroes like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks to where they are in history. He stood up for values he believed in.
Now before you go on saying its different and they chose more peaceful forms of standing up and they did it for racial discrimination which is basic human rights etcetc, let me say this: They are similar on character level. The action they chose may differ, the severity/significance may differ and the cause may differ but that’s all irrelevant to the fact that the character that I applaud are exactly the same – they did what they believe was the right thing to do based on values.
I was asked…. if that’s the case, we should applaud every serial killer in history? Yes and no. Given that all the serial killers even names like Hitler acted based on standing up for a value which they believe warrant the need for what they did, I applaud them FOR that one character. For standing up for the values that they believe in. I do not applaud them as a whole of course. Just because someone did something that would be considered by most to be wrong doesn’t mean they have no characters that are worthy of applaud. Doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to be looked up to for. If a serial killer spent sleepless nights to stalk his victim and exuded extreme levels of determination to kill his target, can we not look at to him for an example of what determination looks like?
Back to the boy. Disrespect? Debatable. But I say if you’re going to thrash him for disrespect and oldies talk about how in their time no one did that. No it’s nothing to do with the younger generation having less respect. It has to do with more daring individuals and less aggressive teachers, yes. But if you want to trash him for disrespect for one second, don’t target only him. He’s better than the rest. If you think everyone from the past and the other kids that sat down held tremendous respect for the teacher or teachers in general, you are greatly mistaken. Most, not all of course, are seated and allow themselves to be subjected to shouting not because they have better character than this boy. But because they have less. They are this boy minus the self-respect and guts. They chose their course of action (or inaction) not because of respect but because of fear.
So regardless of whether he was in the right or wrong, IF and only IF, he acted from a place of self-respect, I truly applaud him for standing up for his values. We need more of him around in my opinion.
AFTER ALL IS SAID, here’s the shortest conclusion: I applaud the boy for doing one thing – what he believed was the rightful thing to do. Provided that's the case of course. That’s all.
PS. I have never shouted back at teachers before so I’m not here to try and defend myself. I have only stood up for myself against an aggressive lecturer but in calm manner.


  1. Thumbs up for the very well thought introduction to this entry! In addition to that, I agree with your reasons for applauding this boy's ablility to stand up for what he believes in.

    I would like to add though that perhaps another reason that this trait is not so common is probably because it is associated with being rude and disruptive. This incident alone would, of course, spark discussions about today's generation of youth, common courtesy, etc. And underlying those discussions would be the fear of parents and teachers that the children in their care would turn out to be rude, selfish individuals in the future. This fear perpetuates the whole thing about a suppressed upbringing as a result.

    Like you've mentioned through your examples, being able to stand up for one's beliefs enables individuals to bring sweeping changes for the better, or atrocious acts of cruelty. This brings me to my second additional point: having more individuals with this trait will result in a more disruptive society (which is neither good nor bad). This would allow some groups of people to get the respect they deserve from society. On the other hand, the same trait can be used to oppress minorities, suppressing their freedom of speech and other rights.

    I suppose the willingness of society to accept this trait boils down to asking ourselves whether we are ready to handle the effects of such forces of change. Whether we are ready to see parts of society go head to head against each other and pull the reigns in when things get out of hand. Whether we have enough "safety gear" around when put catalysts of change into our society.

    In conclusion, I understand how the ability of standing up for one's beliefs is a laudable trait. But I also understand why it can be feared by certain groups.

    Also, I'd like to highlight how surgically precise you were in writing your article without straying beyond the boundaries you set which, quite frankly, are easy to go beyond if you hadn't thought the article through. Great piece of work!

    1. Hey Pocholo! Thanks for the input. It's well thought through because I went through a discussion/debate first before writing this which forced me to think the whole thing through very carefully.

      About the society aspect, it's not the choosing to stand up for their beliefs but what they deem as appropriate measures that really causes the fear and disruption. The very trait of standing up for their beliefs and values is not the actual problem to disruption.

      I was more focus on personal development of character here but I guess we always like to aim for that "ideal" which would be what everyone can aim for. I would say the ideal is where everyone stands up for their beliefs but in the most appropriate way possible. Of course the debate will arise as to what is appropriate and what is not and which is the most appropriate.

      I believe the truth is society is always perfect as it is. Good implies bad as much as life implies death. One does not exist without the other so the cons/negative aspects of every society, no matter what it is, is necessary for the pros/posiitive aspects to be experienced as positive aspects.

      Again thanks!