My middle daughter, A Junior in High School, came home from school yesterday and told me one of her teachers ridiculed and belittled her in front of her piers for the way I live and this not being the first time he has done it.
One way the teacher grades his students is to have them come up front once a week and put on a presentation on anything the child wants to talk about. Being my children actually love our lifestyle and all the things we do as a family, it is only natural my daughter gives presentations about our farm, projects, animals and our way of life.
Yesterday her topic was about sustainable living and in detail talked about our rain water harvesting and solar bathhouse. The teacher did not even let her finish before bursting out in hysterical laughter. She ask him what was so funny and his response was asking her if we were a bunch of hippies or something. He went on to say how ridiculous that all was and how it was a waste of time.
She tried her best to debate the highly educated man and take up for her family and the choices we made in life but a few more jokes later and trying to get the rest of the class on his side to openly discredit my daughter, she finally just sat down in defeat.
The only thing that kept my daughter from feeling completely humiliated was the class did not take the teachers side. They were saying how cool it was and they wished their family did those things. Some even wanted to come over for a tour.
I am sure you would agree that if we all acted on our first thoughts we would all be sitting in a jail cell someplace. It took every fiber of my being not to show this guy the Redneck side of me. Instead, I cooled down and spent most of the evening drafting an email. I had to be very careful in choosing my words and to make it sound non threatening. Plus writing to a English professor I sure did not want to back up his beliefs that I was an uneducated slob so I reverted back to the days of writing where I used big words and actually made sense.
This is how I started my email;
I should hope this email finds you and yours well.
I deeply wish this is all a misunderstanding.
My daughter has informed me you tend to openly
laugh and make fun of the lifestyle my family
chooses to live. For one, I do not understand why
a respected teacher such as yourself would do such
a thing to demean and belittle a child in front
of her peers.
If it is so I have written a short explanation to
better help you understand what we do so it might
open your mind to maybe see the way we choose to
live is not so bad after all and should be embraced
with kindness and not mockery.
I went on to explain in great detail what sustainable living was all about. I even challenged him to list the most valuable aspects of his own life and to see how we do not differ much from one another after all.
In my closing remarks I decided to take a nice little jab at his intelligence by writing;
So please, if you fill the need to laugh at,
make fun of or embarrass my daughter about the way we choose to live,
please call me or meet me in person and I will try and explain this in a more simpler way
where you might be able to understand it.
All anger and reaction without thinking has ever done was land me in trouble. Believe me when I say this is not how the old MDR would have handled this. I guess age does have it's benefits.
If you were wondering, the fine teacher has already emailed me back and was very apologetic in this matter. He assured me it will never happen again and deep down he wishes he could live the way we do.
See there, I killed him with kindness and love. Maybe I am a hippie after all.