Friday, January 31, 2014

Banished from the Class

When I was in the first grade, oh so long ago, there was a boy named Dallas who acted up a bit. He was independant really. In that early age of "group think" that was a way to really get into trouble.

I remember the teacher asking us questions, usually of a negative nature, about how we should act and think. The question was one word. She would say, "Class?" And then we, in unison, would say, "No!" It was a way to form us into an obedient little bloc. Who would ever want to be outside the consensus of that group of little parrots?

One day when Dallas had shown a bit too much free spiritedness, the teacher blew up. "All right young man, you're no longer in this class!" She escorted him to the door leading to the playground and told him he would have to stay there for some terribly long time, maybe a whole hour. We were shocked. Imagine being banished from the group--isolated.

We expected to see a sobbing, repentant little boy, drenched in shame. When I found the nerve to peek out at him, there was Dallas, bending tree limbs over and inspecting the leaves. He seemed totally absorbed and quite content. Perhaps he was looking for insects?

No matter. He turned out to be a little woodsman in his off time away from school. I remember he told me about the "Quaking Aspen" whose leaves seemed always in motion, even on a windless day. "That's because the tree's wood was once used for the cross of Jesus," he told me.

Oh, Dallas, I should have followed your lead at an early age. It took me years to learn how desirable it is to be "banished from the class".

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