Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today, on my morning run, I saw a student walking, late for the bus. The bus saw her walking, way down the road and so stopped and waited for probably two minutes or so for her to catch up and get on.

This might seem like only reasonable behavior, on the bus driver's part. S/he was being nice, right?

As crazy as it sounds, while it was a nice thing to do, I don't think the bus should have stopped. Here's why.

It sends the message that one student's inability to be on time is allowed to cut into the time the rest of the students get at school. The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many (thank you Spock). It's only two minutes, but if this happens a few times on the route, day in and day out, that adds up to net/net less time at school for all the kids.

The rest of the students, who made the bus on time, probably having rushed through their morning at home to do so, pay the price for those students who can't make the bus on time. They will conclude that they, too, can be a bit late and the bus will wait. Why bother rushing to be on time? Rather than being taught that they should try hard to make the bus on time, to take responsibility for not making others wait, they are taught the reverse.

Finally, seeing the bigger picture, this teaches kids that the world will stop and wait for them. Make up for their faults. Be forgiving. That you need not try very hard for things because the rest of the world will compensate. You need not take responsibility. It ties right into the dangerous sense of entitlement that many kids seem to have now. For better or worse, the world simply is not like that once you grow up.

She should have simply missed the bus and learned a good lesson.

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