"What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong..."~Huckleberry FinnThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of my favorite novels. I just recently taught this novel to my students; however, this isn't about Huck Finn. It's about that quote, "Troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong..."
Like many of you, I am a grown up. According to my mother, I've been a grown up since I was 7. My mother could depend on me to be the one amongst her children to do the right thing. That said, I'm not perfect. Of my mom's five children, I was the least spoiled, because I feared the rod. I was the snitch, or as my sister called me the "stool pigeon" and "Miss Goody Two Shoes." I was the kid who conscious of someone copying my paper would write the wrong answers and change them when that child proudly gave the teacher his/her paper. I was the kid covering my paper with a piece of notebook paper or with the patented head on the desk arm wrap. I'm the girl who accepted a zero on my project because I refused to do the other people's work. That was me. The Good Girl.
I did all of that because I wanted to go to college to become a teacher. It had been my dream since the 4th grade. Even as a child, I knew teachers were held to a much higher standard than any other profession. In high school, I practiced abstinence because I didn't want to be a statistic. I had known too many girls who had children far too young. I didn't drink, because I lost a friend to a drunk driver, and my father was an alcoholic. When the opportunity presented itself for me to attend senior college (no, I'm not embarrassed to say that I attended a Ju/Co for two years, it was my choice. I knew I was not emotionally mature enough for senior college. I continued my abstinence here as well, after I had heard stories about some of the reputations of some girls.), I chose a private Baptist college. No, I'm not Baptist. I'm African Methodist Episcopal.
When I signed for my scholarship at said Baptist College, I had to agree to take an on campus job, maintain a 3.00 GPA, attend Chapel every Monday at 9 am (and they took hand written roll w/SSN), complete service hours two Saturdays each trimester, abstain from drinking, and abstain from sex. Boys were not even allowed on the dorm hall unless it was moving day or an emergency. I worked in the school copy center, maintained 3.86 GPA, complete those service hours, passed Chapel every trimester except my last (because I was doing substitute teaching in another town, I have 1 F on my transcript that I always have to explain), I did not drink one alcoholic beverage, and I abstained from sex. Was it easy? No, was it worth it? Hell...oops...Heck, yeah!!!
Southern Baptists could have given that scholarship to any kid. They picked me. They were paying for me to attend their college. I had an obligation to abide by their rules. I knew that if I lost that scholarship, my mother could never afford to send me there. It was almost 10k a year, and that was 1994-97. I had my Bachelor of Arts degree. More importantly, I had achieved my dream-to become a teacher.
After 3 years in public schools, I wanted a change. It started out as a one year experiment on my part. I was going to teach English at a parochial school. In my morality clause, I must abstain from premarital sex, which I have now for nine years. Abstainence is just a part of my life now, and I still don't drink. I don't really feel like I'm missing anything, because I, myself, do not believe in premarital sex. It was a commitment I made to God and myself. You don't have to understand it. You don't even have to agree with it. It's who I am, and no, I don't even concern myself with never marrying. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. My world will not end.
Brandon Davies was just dismissed from his BYU basketball team for engaging in premarital sex. I know some people who rolled their eyes and chastised BYU for their decision. They say he should get credit for admitting to it. Really? So, if one of my students cheats on a test and later confesses, he shouldn't be punished? Really? Is that where we are as a society? According to Time magazine, in this week alone, 200 athletes from 25 major college football teams found themselves in trouble with the law. 200!!! Some, if not all, will probably face no reprimands. They do not attend BYU.
Whatever happened to keeping your word? Davies is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. He knew the rules. I'm sorry he is no longer on the team, but he has free will, he made a choice, and he has to accept the consequences. BYU is a private school funded by the LDS. Their scholarship money, their rules...period...end of discussion. Don't give me all the money they make on these players line either. For men's basketball, BYU made $3,882,784 in revenue, spent $3,589,444, thus netting $293,340. Don't give me that "everybody else is doing it" because it doesn't matter. Try telling the cop everyone else was speeding and see how often that will get you out of a ticket. For a full ride to a college like BYU, I would have worn a chastity belt and left the key with my mom. As a scholarship athlete, the light shining on you is brighter. Those are the breaks, and unfortunately, now he has to accept the consequences. I will give him credit for confessing his sins; however, that does not release him from the consequences.
Lance Barnes a DE on the Navy football team confessed to cheating on an exam. He was expelled along with two dozen others in 1994. It happens in the real world, too. Jaretta Hamilton was fired for conceiving a child before she was married. Robb McCoy, a social studies teacher and football coach was asked to resign after fathering a child out of wedlock. Kelly Romenesko was fired as a teacher for conceiving via in vetro which violated the church rules. It happens.
Abstinence is not easy, but when you make a commitment, you should live up to it. I'm aware I'm in the minority here. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. When you make mistakes, you have to be willing to accept the consequences that follow. Just like Brandon Davies did.
Until next time, " I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime." ~Elizabeth Kubler Ross.