And that’s how leaders are made

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RoseMary Johnson, Contributing Writer

A few nights ago, I was woken up at 2:30 a.m. by a commotion on the Old Mill Circus. It wasn’t the idiotic giggles and shouts of drunken students that disturbed me – I am used to sleeping through that. The noise that woke me up was a repeated crashing and pounding, which was unusual even for Old Mill. As I peered through the blinds towards the Circus, I saw that the noise was made by a dozen or so intoxicated students who were demolishing a large, ride-in toy car by lifting it in the air and throwing it to the ground. One of their number, tackling the car with drunken heroism, managed to wrench off a wheel. Others kicked and stamped on it. The most popular sport was grabbing the four-foot-long car by one end and flinging it through the air. Thankfully no one was hurt – that I know of.

These remains of a children’s car illustrate how to properly play with others’ toys. –Photo by Rosemary Johnson

Let me correct that statement. I know three young Hispanic boys who are devastated right now because their new toy has been destroyed. I say “new” because it was new to them, not because it was brand new. When I first saw the boys playing with the car, a few days before it was destroyed, the front of the car was torn open in several places, and it was clear that the car’s days of being battery-operated were long past. Nevertheless, the gleeful excitement of the three-, five- and seven-year-olds as they pushed each other around in the old car showed the efficacy of a little imagination.

Unfortunately, these boys live near a Catholic university, and since they did not take the obvious precaution of keeping their new possession out of sight, it is only right that it was confiscated for the more sophisticated pleasures of college students. After all, what better way for the children in Old Mill to grow into responsible citizens than by imitating the young men and women who are being trained as “leaders able to act responsibly for their own good and for the good of their family, community, country, and church,” as the University of Dallas Mission Statement declares?

Yes, Plato was right – knowledge is virtue. To become a mature human being, all one needs to do is read a bit of philosophy and theology, study a few poets and political thinkers, and get good enough grades to qualify for one’s intended career. Mere bad habits and moral “exceptions,” such as stealing from the cafeteria, trashing the woods around Old Mill, habitual tardiness (a characteristic that becomes stronger the longer one stays at UD, as I can testify from experience), filling the library and professors’ offices with secondhand smoke by smoking by the Braniff intake vents, tossing bricks through Old Mill apartment windows – it is ridiculous to think that such activities could hinder the pursuit of wisdom, truth and virtue, which the UD Mission Statement identifies as “the proper and primary ends of education.”

Comforted by this thought, I rolled over and went back to sleep. I can’t explain why my dreams were nightmarish after that.

4 COMMENTS

  1. You are way too cynical about the things that are going on around you.
    People don’t go out to old mill woods intending to trash the place.
    People don’t destroy a car to make a little kid feel bad.
    People don’t throw bricks through windows for no reason.
    Get a life and stop being so stuck up.

  2. Dear Miss Johnson,

    I say this free of any tone you masterfully employed (which may or may not have been lost on some of your readers): thank you.

    Sincerely,
    An Older Miller

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