Somewhere in the late 1970’s at a then small rural school called Stockbridge High School I was considered a fun loving guy. Looking back I wish I was a little less fun loving and a whole lot more academically driven. But I wasn’t and I didn’t. Enough said about that.
The small area that led from the small cafeteria to the small high school building was where students would congregate after lunch. On one of those days there was a student whose name will not be used here. This student was talked into standing up on a bench and singing for a now growing crowd. The problem? He was not part of the “in” crowd, could not sing and was starved for attention from other students. Bad combination.
Students began to cheer him on. That is when I walked by and stopped to watch. I was known well enough at the school where I could have stepped in, stopped the situation and saved the singing student a lot of embarrassment. I wish I could tell you I did that. I did not. The other students began to throw money at him wanting him to sing even louder. He had no idea that he was that moment’s cheap entertainment. I wish I could tell you that I stopped it at that point. I did not.
It was then that Mr. Pridmore came out the door. Mr. Pridmore was the principal. I will save the details as to what happened next, but, when the crowd was sent scattering, it was only a few moments later that the public address system came on in the school and we heard Mr. Pridmore say, “For what I have just witnessed I am ashamed to say that I am associated with Stockbridge High School and this student body.”
Nothing further needed to be said. That was many years ago and I am reminded of that situation often. A few months ago I was at the old school walked by that spot and the pain of my conviction was refreshened.
That day after Mr. Pridmore’s announcement I knew that I was as guilty as them, as anybody else. But I also knew I would never again beat down the weak.
As you go about this day, January 11, 2012, do today what I did not do that day.
“Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82;4