Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Helpless Evil

South Side Chicago / Winter 2013 - C. Mirus
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. - Edmund Burke

I don't claim to be a good man. I teach. I don't have the luxury of showing the difference I make to people. I don't rub in their faces the dilapidated state of the inner city. I don't give stories of the lives I've changed.

I teach. I do my job, and do everything else as well as I can.

Edmund Burke may not have been referring to society, instead he used this phrase as a political statement- but the phrase translates. In modern society the idea of change, the definition of evil, and "do nothing" are all relative depending on the many viewpoints of society.

I may see a problem in one of my students, I may confront it, but it will be hell changing it. There are too many other factors impacting that student, the problem, and the relationship between those things and me. The same change that society has made, allowing the incorporation of evil to permeate into more than the enemy, and into a way of thinking, or a stance, is the change that keeps me from interjecting myself into situations I have to sit idly by.

How am I supposed to teach the difference between a dependent and independent clause to a student when they were just kicked out of their home the night before?

The sun touches all of us, none of us are different. I treat everyone as though they know the difference between good and evil, and make choices to pursue one path or the other. They do not always choose the same path every day, but if they can see the paths, and the choices others take, then maybe they can have influence for the better.

I speak in general terms because that is the way academia writes now. Unless you have research, facts, and a ton of statistics, you better not be accusatory. I just reflect on what I observe. I look for patterns. I teach, based on those patterns.

I don't claim to be a good man, but I do try and instill that drive in others.

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