Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wonder and Worry!

We met for supper before going to a presentation by motivational speaker Lesley Andrew. She spoke at the high school of two of our granddaughters and it turned out to be such an amazing evening that I wished that the school had been packed. The tickets had only been $5 after all--a great bargain! Those of us who were there--a small intimate group, left inspired to the hilt by this amazing woman who has turned her challenges into beauty and art. She uses her story to show that no matter the package or family you are born with, or the pain that unfolds in your life, you always have a choice of what to do with them. Through her choices, determination and persistence she has reached incredible heights as a vocal and visual artist, and proven that one goal at a time you can beat the odds and be a success in the best sense of the word--being the best you that you can be.

This was such an amazing message for young people to hear, and I am sure that everyone there was impacted for good.

I was grateful for the school council arranging for the presentation and to the principal for approving it.

Over dinner earlier though, I was disturbed by a conversation. I'd heard about moral dilemma discussions in school, but they had never affected someone I love dearly. Now my granddaughter was telling me that in one of her classes they had a yes or no decision to make, in scenarios in which the choices were unacceptable. She was just making light conversation when she told me about it; just sharing a question to see what choice I would make. I was aware of trying to prevent the dinner conversation turning heavy, and I hope I managed to explain my feelings in a rationale way. I also hope she thinks carefully before she allows anyone to take away her right to say "No, I won't make that choice."

One of the scenarios she shared was that a group of adults and a baby are hiding from the Nazis during World War 11. The baby starts crying and the only way to escape discovery and prevent all of them being shot is to smother the baby. What would you do? Would you smother the baby--yes or no?

Now that I'm writing the question out, I can see that you could say no, but I am afraid that many people would be led in the direction of sacrificing the baby "for the greater good." After all, they would all be dead if they are discovered.

Giving in to the pressure to make this choice breaks down a moral boundary in people that is there for good reason, and once it is breached, it leads down a road of many other choices being considered reasonable "for the greater good." 

Ironically, choices having to be made when resources were limited was the seed that initially lay at the core of the Nazi philosophy in which some people were deemed worthy of life and others weren't. They called those that weren't, "Useless eaters." That thinking was the pathway to what became genocide--the Holocaust. In our own time it could lead to involuntary euthanasia of the elderly or the "useless," in society's view. 

(If I over reacted and there is some greater purpose and guidance during the discussion of the questions, I apologize--but I found them worrying, and angering.)

Having made my point, we all still managed to have a wonderful evening thanks to the best company in the world--each other--and a speaker that was second to none in the inspiration category! 

And being driven to pray for your grandchildren and the school system is not a bad thing.

3 comments:

Leslie said...

This makes me think back to the late 70's when they introduced "Values Education" at my high school. We had similar scenarios. I'm sure the school system thought they were helping us to make values judgements but as a new Christian, I found the Biblical worldview mostly rejected in favor of the idea "for the greater good." But governments and the schools run by them have been influencing and desensitizing people for a very long time. And yes,it reminds us to pray not just for our schools but for people to stand up and defend the value of the weak, old, disabled etc.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I find these exercises quite dangerous as they ask young minds to value some over others. It's ironic the example used because these kind of questions were used by the nazi's in their schools to get children to calculate the cost of some to society. It's using a nazi plot to advance a nazi agenda. The other thing that bothers me is that they, by doing this, trivialize the real life situations that people faced when under to domination of the state. Turning 'Sophie's Choice' into a 'discussion topic' is, in my mind, offensive.

Belinda Burston said...

I appreciate the confirmation that I'm not out to lunch. After the fact I felt as though I could have handled the discussion so much better by asking questions--helping my granddaughter to think it through for herself. Instead I am afraid I came on strong and she may have gone away thinking that I was disappointed in her rather than the school, which is far from the truth.