Where the People are.

If you're in a corner, or in a box, it's not because somebody put you there, it's because you've agreed to be in that box.


I stay outside. Because that's where the people are.


When I first watched this, I thought of my classroom and getting out in the hallways to be with the kids as they pass and walk by. Because even though I want to stay in my room, out in the hall is where the people are. And they want high fives, waves, fist bumps, and sometimes even hugs.

Then, while getting a Fat Tire from the frig, I thought of other boxes, bigger boxes, and more restrictive boxes. Boxes of religion, family, and politics. 

But mainly religion.

Maybe yours is something else.

Whatever it is, we've both agreed to be in that box. Isolated, Insulated. And safe. 

Because stepping out is entering into the unknown, and to where the people are. People who think different, look different, act different, and are different. Like kids in the hallways.

In the hallways, I lose much of my control and influence. I'm no longer the centerpiece but an outside observer. In the hallways, kids curse, make out, swap cigarettes, and fight, and I stand on the sideline, unable to do much of anything but correct what I can and say hello to those who pass. 

Sometimes though, kids want a high five, fist bump, or short conversation.

And somehow, when it happens, in the hallway, on their turf, it seems a bit more genuine because truly, they don't have to say a damn thing. They can walk by, cursing under their breath (which some do, no doubt) or ignore me completely. But they don't - not all of them anyway. They wave, smile, and sometimes stand with me and talk. And I love it because, often times, I learn things about them that the classroom can't teach. 

Like the student whose father was just arrested for dealing meth. Or the one who's having surgery on Thanksgiving day because she might have breast cancer. 

Sometimes though, they don't say a thing. They just high five, fist pump, or nod. And when it comes from the kid that I get on every single day to do some work, to turn something in and stop dropping F-bombs in my class, well, that too means a lot to me. 

And after watching this short clip, I began to wonder what would happen if I stepped out of other boxes, engaged and mingled with other people, different people, and started talking and listening and learning from them? Where would that take me? Take us? 

Probably to where the people are.

Which is just where I want to be.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  #eattogether :  Humanity  :  A Heineken commercial that inspires more than a drink