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Posts Tagged ‘moral

I wondered if I should illustrate this reflection with a photo of an inconsiderate patron at the library.

I made up my mind when I recalled how she opted to sleep in public and then raised a fuss when approached by a librarian. There is no shaming the shameless.

But this reflection is not about a character attack. If I had such inclinations, I would use Facebook.

No, this my observation of how public servants lose moral authority by compromising on standards.

Inconsiderate patron at a library.

The person in the photo was sleeping in the library. This seems harmless until you realise that she:

  • Was denying a more legitimate user of a seat
  • Set a phone alarm that alerted everyone but her
  • Drew the attention of the same librarian on two occasions
  • Verbally abused the librarian

The librarian had first told the woman not to sleep there. In her second patrol, the librarian responded to the ringing alarm. She asked the woman, “Are you feeling ok?” and this set the woman off. The woman cussed and complained.

Thankfully, inconsiderate patrons are still the minority, but I still do not envy being the librarian. It takes just one to spoil your day.

That said, librarians (and anyone in authority) are gatekeepers of behaviour. If they let one misbehaviour through, others will follow. If they attempt to stem the flow and do not do it well, the flow continues.

The librarian asked an indirect question in an attempt to deal with the problem. She was hoping that the woman would realise her anti-social behaviour and correct herself by leaving. She did not and she was recalcitrant.

A more direct approach might have been to tell the woman that it was library policy not to deny a more legitimate user a seat. If she did not get that message, the librarian could do what the periodic announcements declare — tell her to leave.

It is not always wise to let sleeping dogs lie. They will take over and you will lose moral authority.

This is a principle that applies broadly to other contexts, e.g, classrooms, public transport, parenting. Our authority as educators, public servants, or parents lies not in who we are, but in what we stand on. Lose that ground and we will lose that authority.

Previously I shared my rationale for playing the long game in PokémonGo. I urged educators to think more along the lines of imparting authentic values and thinking skills instead of artificially-constrained content.

I have played PokémonGo for just over a month. I have hatched a few 10km eggs over that time. I as focused on levelling up XP (experience points), I have noticed the eggs providing rarer and more valuable Pokémon.

My latest reward was the very rare Snorlax.

My Snorlax

I did this without cheating: No jailbreaks, no location spoofing, no sharing of account information, etc. I did not have to join a crazy mob behaviour to get one either.


Video source

I did not play the game fanatically, I played it consistently. I did what I could to level up, I ensured the game was open when I walked, and I did not seek instant gratification.

This did not mean I did not have fun because there is so much to do beyond the farming and candy-ing of Pidgeys, Rattatas, and Weedles.

The enjoyment of the Snorlax, knowing the effort that I put into it, is more than what I would have if I used a cheat strategy for a quick reward.

That alone is an important model for my son as he was with me as we walked home and the Snorlax egg hatched. We stopped walking, ooh-ed and ahh-ed, and discussed its stats. I also reminded him how playing the long game had its in-game and moral rewards.

It will take more than one Snorlax for that message to sink in. My son will need to do the same to experience the process and reward for himself. It is perhaps the road less travelled, but that is reward in itself.


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