Encourage Positivity by Mr. Martin, Mayor of the Fire Lane “It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.” – Kyle Popper
“I lack a dark side. I lack vindictiveness. Although, I rarely make efforts to curry favor from people who devalue my personhood mainly because it's just a poor use of time. Casting ill will on anyone is counterproductive (although I've been pushed to the limits). It's been my experience in life that most people strive to be kind and considerate and by default will provide you emotional safe harbor even in tense situations. So, being misunderstood mostly bears inconsequential after effects, however, chilling effects may ensue and sometimes intensify. Relationships often devolve or dissolve based on a single misunderstanding and only time apart may allow resurrection of a relationship between friends, neighbors and colleagues. Often, out of necessity, it's just best to recalibrate, move on and save your soul. Rarely, out of necessity, we resist. Most importantly, when you awake the next day continue to encourage positivity toward everybody as your daily mission in life...”
"Our Fire Lane Binds Our Community Together.”
Hope all is well with you and your family. The precious photo you emailed of your cute daughter in her school classroom with her Dad enjoying donuts brought an indelible memory to the forefront of my mind.
When I was a young boy attending Geronimo Elementary School in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma I twisted my right ankle playing tetherball during morning class recess. When I returned to my classroom and to my assigned first row seat I was quietly suffering severe pain as my ankle continued to swell and throb as lunchtime approached. My teacher, Mrs. Bostwick, excused the students in class for lunch promptly at noon. However, I sat paralyzed in the moment and remained in my seat while the classroom cleared. For some inexplicable reason I refused to move even at the earnest behest of my kind and patient teacher. I managed to withold my tears and remain as small and stoic as possible.
As I sat solitary in the classroom, Mrs. Bostwick gently inquired what was wrong and why I wouldn't rise from my desk to join my classmates. I stubbornly refused to reveal to her that my ankle was injured and that I was incapable of standing or walking. Why was I so reticent admitting to my teacher such a simple truth? I’m oblivious as to why I resisted her pleas, even to this day. As an experienced teacher yourself, Lateefah, you know more than most why kids are so puzzling and act in odd, mysterious ways. So, what happened next?
Twenty minutes passed by as I sat mute at my desk staring out the classroom window beyond the sunny horizon shared by billowing clouds. Now remember, twenty minutes is an hour in kids’ time and all the while I anxiously contemplated my immediate dilemma with no resolution in sight. I figured I’ll just be stuck in this permanent purgatorial space forever—helplessly doomed. The next thing I see in my periphery is my Dad suddenly appearing in my classroom in full military uniform…
MY DAD IS HERE!… inside MY elementary school classroom with dimensional spaces and boundaries designed just for small kids, teachers notwithstanding. Boy, was I surprised and extremely happy to see my Dad and my excited facial expression reflected my voluminous joy. With a purposeful gait, he hastened toward me, unveiled my issue, picked me up and effortlessly hoisted me up high above his shoulders. Dad elevated me so high I could reach up and touch the fluorescent white lights in the classroom ceiling. My legs were secured by Dad's strong hands and I swayed confidently on his solid shoulders. I was so high up in the air I began to feel super powerful. With renewed posture, I gazed far downward at Mrs. Bostwick and exchanged reassuring grins as my Dad and I escaped my self-imposed confinement.
Off we galloped, my Dad and me, like unbridled circus performers out my classroom door. My ankle feigned healing prematurely as I surveyed from above my superior new vantage point; my wiggled body springing up and down from the upward motion of each of my Dad's broad strides down the tunneled school hallway. I was giggling and willfully ignored the throbbing pain sensations in my ankle because now I was safe, secure and enjoined with my trustful Dad. At my Dad's instruction, I ducked my head as we exited the school's reinforced glass front doors toward the family's gleaming, black Pontiac LeMans.
Artificially tall and visually advantaged, I was now liberated outside into the open Oklahoma blue skies. Perfectly perched atop my Dad's steady shoulders, we zigzagged across the striped cement parking lot toward our family car. We drove off together to the military hospital clinic. After the attendant doctor wrapped up my severely sprained ankle, my Dad and I drove homeward toward our residence on Lester Road where I enjoyed lunch, rested and recovered during the remaining hours of the sunny day.
Lateefah, I'll never forget the rest of my life the day my Daddy rushed from work to Geronimo Elementary School to rescue me from my personal classroom drama and escort me to the Army hospital clinic. I love my Daddy too!