Boston Public is a wonderful show. It has plenty of action interwoven with deep issues. It doesn't preach; it doesn't give you answers. It inspires deep thought.
Tonight's episode brought out a number of issues. There was the obvious story about the principal who was asked to go to the execution of a former student. They showed the angle of the criminal first. He was a young man who had no one in his life - not even God. He was reaching out to the only other person who had ever meant anything to him. It seemed to me that he was trying to play out the ending of his life in a way he couldn't have lived the wholeness of it. Then they showed the victim's father. He stated his request simply and plainly. He didn't demand. He didn't bring drama. The plain facts of the murder and pending execution did not need any additions.
Steven Harper didn't remember this young man as a former student. This played into the execution situation and opened up another. It made the attendance of the execution a professional matter devoid of personal emotional attachments. There was Steven Harper the teacher/principal versus Steven Harper the father - both battling to "do the right thing." Two equally self-defining responsibilities which competed for an ultimate statement of character. The battle was hard, and in the end - Steven Harper won.
It also suggested a younger Steven Harper who taught students the same way he now manages teachers. He always does his best. His greatness lies not with creative endeavors, but with making hard decisions. He's not a "touchy-feely" kind of guy. He's the strong one who balances mercy with justice. It's a different kind of greatness. Yet, there was a regret within him that he could not reach out to each and every student who was needing and wanting help. He didn't notice who was and wasn't looking back. He lost one - because he could not be himself and a Harry Senate-type of teacher at the same time.
There are many people who wear the "teacher" hat, some which find themselves without the formal authority of a school environment to influence their students. These are the teachers who have to rely on expertise and personal power to inspire learning. Their students still learn. So, be yourself. Be the best "you" that you can - always. You never know who's looking to you for their role model. You could save a life that way. And you could become great. There's always someone looking.
Posted by BlueWolf on June 3, 2002 11:58 PM