Thursday, January 13, 2011

High School & Hypocrisy

Facebook is an interesting place. Although I live in the same town in which I grew up, I 'see' more school chums on Facebook than around town, even when they still live here, too. Since it's been nearly 20 years since my graduating class graduated without me, these virtual relationships bring surprises. One good high school friend, for instance, persists in refusing to speak to me just because I got pregnant during senior year. Seriously. And it's fun to see who married whom, who has kids, etc.

All this to say that this week a 'friend' un-friended me all because I dared criticize our high school!

For those who don't know, Nate attends two classes at the same high school I attended (German and French). He's been very blessed in the instructors he's been assigned. However, he's still in a public school two hours a day, with all that entails. This week it entailed something that his mother found irresponsible, unnecessary and above all, not educational in the least. And I posted about it on Facebook. No-Longer-Friend answered that she thought the same thing happened when we attended. In answering this No-Longer-Friend's answer to my complaint, I pointed out that in Washington State, an average of ten thousand dollars in tax money is used for each student, far more than private school tuition, but the results of the education are far less impressive. In fact, at this particular high school, less than half of 10th graders pass the 10th grade Math exam, and only slightly more than half pass the Science exam. The way I figure it, if they are taking this money, but not getting the job done, then the last thing they need to do is waste class time and administrative power on non-essentials such as a school-sponsored electronic dating service (no, I am not making this up).

Anyway, fast forward to where I am called a hypocrite for daring to repeat the above. Well, thank you, No-Longer-Friend, for pointing out yet another area in which our alma mater failed us: The use of a dictionary!

Hypocrite n.
a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

How does pointing out flaws in a school at which I attended (not by choice, even) make me a hypocrite? I didn't like the school then, didn't feel it was giving me a good education or preparing me for life, and I feel the same way now, only more strongly. Apparently I am a hypocrite for hoping my son and sister make better choices and have better opportunities than I did?

Shall we assume, then, that No-Longer-Friend is going to encourage her daughters to take their mom's romance novels with them to middle school and read the naughty parts aloud to their lunch table? I ask because this is my earliest memory of No-Longer-Friend. Or is it just possible that growing up, we gain wisdom and learning? Actually, Nate and I often have a conversation that begins with me saying I wish I had been more like him at his age and him pointing out that if that had been the case he would not exist.

It is never hypocrisy to learn from your mistakes, or even from the mistakes of others. It isn't hypocrisy to change your mind. It isn't hypocrisy to have rules for your kids that you didn't follow when you were a kid. And it definitely isn't hypocrisy to point out the flaws in an entity that you were once a part of. Some might even call it progress in the making.