When it comes to explaining or excusing bad/poor behavior, I am the queen. Just ask Hubby, who has commented on it numerous times when he really wants to rant about something someone did. I can always provide an alternative explanation. It is something I am not only known for, but have cultivated through the years, searching for a kinder, gentler reason for people’s angry remarks or mean actions. These alternate reasonings are limited to normal behavior- why did someone snap at me, why does that person have to continue making that clicking noise, is there really a need to ignore my phone call, etc.
So it surprised me that there is, indeed, ‘normal’ behavior which I do not tolerate and for which I do not even attempt to find and explanation.* If you are in a position of authority, I expect you to take charge of the situation. You may not have all the answers, but by golly, do not give me a blank stare because there is the real possibility that I may lose it. And we don’t want me loosing my temper. It happens rarely, but is not a thing you want to behold. Ask Ellwood and Luke Skywalker what it looks like when Mommy gives in to the dark side.
While dropping Ellwood off at school the other day, I ran into just such a situation. We were headed towards the gym since his teacher (Ms. G., who is AWESOME!) has bus duty this month and is therefore in the gym, not her classroom in the mornings. We met her about halfway there. She was leading a long line of children and the one at the front was crying. As we got closer, Ms. G. called to another teacher that this is the reason they had to have more than one adult in the gym. (I love that she had the guts to complain, regardless of who hears.)
Seeing me, Ms. G. hands over the crying child and asks me to escort her to the office. The child has vomit dripping down her head and back. (No wonder she was in tears!)
Guiding the child without actually touching her I walk into the office and make an announcement which I think should have the office staff jumping, ‘This child was just thrown up on by another little girl in the gym.’
Nothing. No response from either the secretary or the principal. A woman behind me says she doesn’t think they heard me since the secretary is on the phone and the principal is speaking with a parent. Fair enough. I wait and try again once both women are free. ‘This little girl is covered in vomit from another student.’
Again, I get nothing but blank stares. Now, I know no one wants to deal with another child’s sick up, but seriously? Don’t you ask the child her name so you can call the parents? Maybe call the janitor to clean up the gym? Both women sat there as if paralyzed until Ms. G., the wonderful woman, raced in and began to get things done, looking for the parent’s phone number, attempting to help the child clean up. And the whole time, the other two adults in the room (one of them a principal!) did nothing.
I see both the secretary and especially the principal of the school as the leaders. And leaders are supposed to jump into action when confronted with a situation like this, not simply stare. Be warned, those in positions of authority (managers of stores, bosses, principals of schools), I expect you to act when the situation calls for it. If you don’t, there is a good chance we will be talking later.
*This may be a bit of an exaggeration as I found myself saying that sometimes…oh forget it!