Take the Risk or Not?
New month and new theme! I’m kinda excited about this one!
What a word.
First day of the new month and new theme, and today’s prompt asks:
Friday, March 1, 2013
Do you think it’s better to play it safe or to take risks?
I shared Rebel With a Cause in the Christian Bloggers Community on G+ for the #Wednesdayrewind challenge. That was before I knew what the theme would be on Blogher for the month of March.
If you take the time to go back and read my Rebel With a Cause post, I think you will clearly find my answer to today’s prompt there. However, after re-reading that post, and going back through the following posts:
What If to Why Not
Fight or Flight
Take Me to the Trenches
Government, God, & Gamaliel
I’ve realized I talk a lot about risk and rebelling already, but I don’t always share a whole story. Nor exactly how I feel about risk taking.
I like to play it safe. I don’t like the idea of failing. I’m terrified of accidents, danger, and potential harm.
Do I like risk?
Absolutely not. NO!
In fall of 2011 I learned of a bill being pushed through the Missouri Senate that would end all electronic communication between public school employees and students who hadn’t yet graduated from high school. This bill (SB54) immediately outraged me. I was currently serving as our church youth leader and teaching Sunday school for 8th grade – college aged students.
I literally texted my church kids EVERY day of the week. I had group pages set up on facebook and was personal friends with each of them. I may not have had face to face conversations with my kids every day, but I had contact (via electronic communications) with my kids multiple times a day.
This bill was literally going to take my relationship with my church kids away from me simply because I worked in a public school.
I started writing letters via e-mail. I was outraged that the elected officials I had supported felt that it was more likely that school employees, who are background checked and spend 7+ hours a day face to face with students, were more likely to have inappropriate relationships with students outside of school than other professional people. So, they were planning to support SB54 as is was written. No exceptions for ministers, church employees or volunteers, scout leaders, other community volunteers, or school employees with second jobs that overlapped.
First amendment rights were about to be limited for one group of employees only.
I was devastated. I would have to resign as youth leader and probably Sunday school teacher. You can’t be effective in those positions and not talk to students outside of the church.
It would come to that or my paying job as a teacher that I needed to pay back my student loans.
On the first day of school I received a phone call at school.
Um, that’s not ok. What kind of emergency is this?
It was an attorney contacting me to see if I would be willing to be a Plaintiff against the State of Missouri to put a stop to SB54.
I was taken by surprise. It was terrible timing. It was a risk. I needed time. They needed to know today and I needed to be able to miss school to go to court in a very few days.
I made rushed phone calls and personal visits to my husband and school superintendent to discuss potential risk if I went through with this.
Someone needed to stand up and fight. We (I’m referring to Christian people here) have lost enough rights by not standing up to fight, and I would have felt guilty forever if I hadn’t stepped up to the plate this time.
It was the most stressful start to a school year I’ve ever had.
The process itself was educational and I actually enjoyed it. There was no guarantees we would make a difference. No guarantees I wouldn’t lose personally for the stand I was taking.
It was a risk, it was uncomfortable, and I did it anyway. Other than family, close friends, and church family, I don’t think the general public knows about my role in the process. It wasn’t even well-known in my own school district.
However, in the months that followed the word “rebel” kept being thrown around with my name. It REALLY bothered me.
What bothered me even more was when I told my husband that I couldn’t believe people were calling me a rebel, he laughed out loud because I was shocked.
Repeated a statement that had hurt my feelings to my superintendent and he laughed and said, “You absolutely are a rebel! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing!”
Outraged by the responses I was getting, I asked my “friends” on facebook if they thought I was a rebel.
Humph! Apparently it was time to get new friends! 😉
I absolutely don’t see myself as a person who likes to take risks, but I absolutely believe in standing up for what’s right even in the face of great risk.
It is when we face the greatest risk that we reap the biggest rewards.
The lawsuit against SB54 was successful in doing what it set out to do. While there is now a law in effect that limits contact via electronic communication between school employees and students, it is not all-inclusive. Even though my school year got off to a stressful start, it was the year with the biggest leaps in scores in my classroom. Being faithful brings blessings to everything we put our hand to.
(I can’t find any of the video links. All quotes are used out of context. I was speaking of communicating with my CHURCH kids…NOT my kids in my classroom!)