I am joining Five Minute Friday over at Heading Home this week. I am late, yet again. I tried to write this yesterday (on the actual Friday), but just couldn’t get it out. But, this Saturday morning, I found my words. For five minutes, at least. This week’s prompt is “Truth”.
Truth is a concept I teach about in my Argumentation and Debate class. We talk about “truth” not having a capital “T”. We talk about “truth” often being based on perspective because we can only know what we know. I’ve come to some realizations lately about how good we are at hiding things from ourselves. So, sometimes even we don’t know what we know because we don’t want to face up to what we know. Does that even make any sense? I hope it does.
I’m going to do a whole post about this involving myself, but with it being finals time, I see it happening with my students quite a bit as well. They know what it takes to be a successful student, and if honest with themselves (which they sometimes are in an act of desperation at the end of the semester), they will admit that they did not do those things during the semester. BUT, they also want to figure out a way to “fix it” all now, with one or two weeks left. So, they ask to turn in late work. They ask to do forgotten assignments. They check to see what their “options” are. Many of my teacher friends have posted messages about this on social media, a sort of chuckling at the irresponsibility of students and their somewhat dismissive responses. But, as a sensitive person, as well as someone who made some (many) mistakes in my own academic career, I am usually more understanding and forgiving of students. After all, we don’t know what we don’t know either. I don’t know where this student is emotionally or socially. They come to me asking for a way to “fix it”. Not for a way to “make it go away” – those are the more frustrating for me. The students who disappear and never ask for the help they need. So, when a student is brave enough (bold enough?) to come and ask me, I will usually try to give them some way of making things better. I’m not going to give them an undeserved, but I will try to find a way to give them an opportunity to fix some mistakes they’ve made along the way, with some work on their part.
In the last few years, I’ve started to think of this as giving them some human grace as a way of recognizing how much I’ve received of God’s grace in my life. I will even sometimes tell them that we all need a little grace now and then. Forgiveness. Recognition that although we’ve made mistakes, we are still deserving of good things. Because, let’s face it. If this isn’t the TRUTH, then we’re all in a lot of trouble in the lives we lead.