Thursday, January 30, 2014

Service and Safety

Lauren’s term as a safety down at Not Bad President Elementary ended this week.

They only serve for a semester, down at NBPE, and then they have to step aside so the new group can come in.  There’s a period of training so they can pass on their bits of wisdom to the incoming safeties – the official things that make up the manual, and the little things that the teachers may or may not choose to acknowledge that they know – and then it’s over and they melt, Cincinnatus-like, back into the regular population.

She has really enjoyed being a safety.  For one thing it forced us to get out of the house a little earlier on school days and anything that gets people off the dime is a good thing, really.  But more than that, I think, was the fact that it gave her a job to do, one that she could see was clearly helping others.  There’s a satisfaction in that.

We live in service to others. 

This is a lesson that you would think is largely forgotten today if all you did was listen to the political ranting of the Galt cultists, those whose ideal human is the diagnosably sociopathic atomized individual fanatically pursuing his (and it’s almost always “his”) own self interest without regard for his neighbors.  Such cultists hold a lot of sway here in the 21st-century US, far more than any civilized culture ought to give them.

But they forget the simple human fact that we are a social species.  We derive meaning from our relations with others, and the heights we reach depend on the depths of our commitment to our communities and the people in them.  All of the people in them, and not just the ones that look and think like us.

Service starts at the beginning.

I’m glad Lauren has been a safety these past few months, shepherding the younger kids across the street in front of NBPE.  She is learning at a very young age a lesson that so many adults seem to have forgotten, and if she is lucky it is a lesson that will stick with her for the rest of her life.

Good work, Lauren.  I’m proud of you.

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