"All you southern hicks are always just looking for a way to get off work." The young man tried to explain that he was not feinting an injury he truly had injured himself at his work station. "How long you gonna work here? You gonna get yourself a good paycheck or two and then split like they all do?"
Johnny Cash--The Life--Robert Hilburn
This was a company doctor's statement at a place where Cash first worked in Detroit after leaving home in Arkansas.
When recently reading this book on the life of Cash I was made to think of something that happened in my past. It was the fall of 1960 and I was a few weeks into my freshman year in college. Back then after a few weeks of one's freshman year the school would send out what they called mid-term grades. Generally these grades were sent to the student's parents giving them some idea of how their son or daughter was doing.
The day I received my mid-term grades I was called to my counselors office. "What in the world are you doing here? Look at these grades. You aren't even going to your classes. Your cutting classes. You are doing nothing but wasting your parents money. You are here having one big party you better wake up." This (along with a bit more) was said to me as I sat in my counselors office.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. First of all I was not missing classes. I had not missed a class. (Side note: in four years of college I only missed one class and that was to go watch a friend play a college baseball game.) Secondly, I was not wasting my parents money. I was working nearly full-time and paying my own way. Also, I was living at home and was living anything but the "college good life." True my grades were not anything to hang on the kitchen refrigerator but this was not an easy time for me--in a lot of ways and but for sure.... I was not goofing off.
I sat in the man's office listening to him too timid to say much in return. Also, it was readily apparent he was not interested in anything I had to say. He would just make his blanket assumptions and then dismiss another young freshman kid. He ask no questions and gave no opportunity for explanations.
Generalization--"Your all the same"---"Then split like they all do"--blanket statements--assuming all the same---most times is not right or fair to the person or persons in which they are being said about.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given shortly into my first year of teaching and coaching was given to me by an old gentleman teacher/ coach.
"Larry, before you say or do something to or with another person...especially kids...you might ask them some questions."
May 25, 2017