Friday, November 10, 2006
This is a long post/letter but a valuable read.
This was sent to Aunt B via email...
Dear Aunt B,
Recently one of my few friends got into a lot of trouble. Because of this incident, she spent an entire week in detention at school, every day until the end of the year she is now forced to pick up trash on compass, and her mother grounded her until she turned 18.
Now, I did the exact same thing except on a much larger scale. In punishment, I received only one day in detention. That was it. I wasn't even grounded by my mother.
The worst part was, was that I had to almost insist that they punish me because of what I did because I considered it grossly unfair that I did not receive any form of punishment while my friend did. Even worse was that, that the one day in detention was the worst that I could get them to give me.
When my friend found out, she became infuriated with me. She was mad that I received a far less harsh punishment from the school than she did, she was mad that my mother didn't punish me while her mother punished her, and then when I told her about how I had to make them punish me, she became even angrier. Now she refuses to talk to me.
I've even talked to her boyfriend, whom had gotten in trouble with her (they really weren't doing anything bad, honestly) and he refuses to speak to me as well unless he comes to the swordfighting classes that I help teach since I am the assistant instructor.
I don't understand why they're mad at me when it wasn't even my fault that I didn't receive as harsh of a punishment as they did, and I don't understand why they're mad that I insisted on a punishment.
I know why the school didn't want to punish me and why my mom didn't. I'm an honors student who's attending college classes during my free time, and I'm already receiving scholarships in writing contests that I enter.
I would really like getting some advice on how to patch things up with my friend since she and her boyfriend are two of my seven friends. I don't want to lose them, but I will unless I do something and I can't do something because I don't understand why they're acting like this!
Aunt B said...
Dear Confused Friend,
This is so painful, I know. I feel for you, I really do. This, unfortunately, is another one of life's dirty lessons; Nothing is Fair!
First, let me say this...it is not YOUR fault for the punishment that you were given. Did the gods shine on you? I don't know. As you stated, it may have been because you are an exemplary student and they gave you some leeway. I find it rather exhilarating, that you are able to see the injustice of your friends punishment, compared to your own. Equally impressive, is the fact that you were willing to take a harsher punishment and even asked for it. That is either a true sign of friendship and/or a true sign of maturity. More importantly, you passed one of life's little tests. Most people opt for the easy way out. Sure it would be easier to walk away with the profit of a lesser sentence but I have a sneaking suspicion you have a true sense of moral decorum. Somehow, I can see you on the Justice League, as a young woman, fighting for the rights of others. We certainly need more people like you in this world and I encourage you to never allow this world to taint that set of standards that you hold yourself to. Be a lawyer or work for the ACLU and champion for the underdog, you know the one that gets kicked by the buttheads called society as a whole?
Back to the dilemma. Lil' Sister, I invite you to allow your friend to read this. Just send her the link or copy and paste the parts you want for her.
Keeping it real, I would say that your friends reaction is normal. We all want justice, we all want to be treated fairly. When somebody else skates, it pisses us off. Unless of course, it is ourselves. Then, there is the rare persona of a young lady who believes in right and wrong, true friendship and a sense of fair play. I think your friend would be pissed at whomever, Joe Blow, Jane Doe, it wouldn't matter. But it was you that, in her mind, got off easy, thus, you are the one she's staring in the face and yelling "Injustice" and I can't blame her. But let's look at this. I am all about putting things into perspective and let's examine this, ok?
1. Looking at your jacket, which is your record of behavior and as an adult, if you have a criminal record, they call it your jacket, is there difference there? I mean, does her record show past infractions and yours doesn't? This is how a sentence is meeted out in the Criminal Court system. If it's your first infraction, they cut you a break.
2.What was the attitude difference, between you both, upon presentation of your infraction? In other words, did you show a remorseful attitude and maybe, she did not? Some of us get angry when confronted with our wrong doings, right? Some of us flip the script and turn it around and are more pissed off that we were caught than looking at what we've done and showing remorse. This is quite typical, actually. Most people do not want to look in the mirror on any scale and see themselves or their behavior as wrong. We often, out of convenience or survival, turn things around with a hate for any kind of Law or Law Enforcement. This is why we cuss the Police when we are stopped for speeding. Who wants to be chastised or pay a penalty when they are wrong or break the rules? Also, this is why we often repeat an offense because we haven't really learned our lesson. We misconstrue things to make it more palatable.
There are too many variables, that I don't have in front of me, evidence, records and so on to make a judgment call. But that is not why you wrote me, is it?
What to do?
I would give her the link, as I said and have her read this. Obviously, this is weighing heavily on you or you would not have bothered to write me for advice? I think you really need to put things into perspective. If you do not want to have her read this, then take from it and use it. Tell her that you understand her animosity towards you but it is not your fault. Tell her that you are aware that it may not have been fair and you don't feel good about it, at all. As a friend, this hurts you and you do not want to lose her friendship over something that is out of your control. Really, what the hell can you really do about this? Nothing. They must have had reason for their reasoning, I can only assume. Tell her, after all is said and done that if she will hold this against you, one of two things is happening here; She is either jealous, immature or plain hateful. Or misinformed and didn't realize that it's not your fault. Let her choose which it is and I guarantee, she will not admit that she's being immature. I think it's most likely that she was just angry and it came back on you. If she's a true friend, she'll try to see things as they really are. If she's not a true friend, she won't try to see it and quite frankly, you don't need any friends like that. I recommend that you either give her this link or write down how you feel, what's really going on and put things into perspective for your friend. After that, the ball is in her court. Let's see if she plays fair and has a sense of Sportsmanship and Civility?
Time heals all wounds. This is a life lesson, pay attention. You will find that life is not fair, what so ever but it is commendable that you rally towards what's right. Try to use this to help others. I see you going places, young lady and I wish you only the very best. Please stay in touch and let me know how this goes. Holla back!
Keeping it Real,