Blog Post 7/24/2011
Much has happened this weekend. Friday morning, a crazy individual breaks into a packed theater to disrupt, and kill people that came to watch the premiere of another cult movie of Batman. Sunday morning the wrecking crews at Penn State took down the revered statue of another cult-like personna to remove any reverence for a man that"turned the other way" while children were being harmed. And this morning we have the verdict delivered by the athletic consortium of the NCAA that controls to some degree educational offerings as well as sports programs in higher education, another cult that has become a big business in the US.
The key word that resonates in my thinking throughout these events is the word "cult". The dictionary defines the term as "a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure of object." Cults draw people who are in need of a relationship with something or someone. Whether it is watching a Batman movie, or cheering for a big time college football team, cults are like magnets that draw people to their cause, hero, or various personna. In many similarities, religious cults are equally magnetic and quite persuasive. But, regardless of the intent, it points out to me the desire that people wish to belong to something, greater than themselves.
Education has a job to make people aware, and informed of reality, and to teach people to make appropriate decisions about their desire to seek relationships with such things. Unfortunately, we do not win that battle very well when the interests of children are in competition with each other, from family religious extremes to private sector advertising media drawing people to themselves, or schools of higher education promising the world to student athletes, only to find that college athletics are a threshing of talent from desire, leaving many individuals to be discarded when they are no longer useful.
For all the good intentions in the world, music and athletic programs offer great benefits to children in their educational development, but are we teaching kids to become professional musicians or athletes? The desire to compete or to perfect a talent is an excellent discipline to develop in all people, but do we go too far in promising the world? How many Division I hopefuls are there and how many students are let down when the world comes crashing in on these dreams and hopes?
My heart goes out to the victims and families from the heinous acts committed by one deranged individual at a movie theater in Colorado. But, then I am confronted by the persistent thought of what type of a person goes to see a movie at 12:00am with young children? How many crazies or questionable individuals are out at that time that might create the kind of chaos that we saw on Friday?
Then again, what type of parents allow their children to attend a sports camp with a known pedophile working in a position of influence? Don't people ask questions first, or are they blinded by the hope that their child is being groomed for a scholarship to the notable college? But, what is there to worry about, right? St. Joe Paterno will keep an eye on this!
There are major lessons to be learned from all of these events, but will people truly ever learn? The desire to belong to something is a real psychological need, whether it is going to a late night Batman movie, or getting into an elite school of higher education, or going to church on Sunday.
Kudos to the NCAA for hammering Penn State. Hopefully someone will learn from this tragedy.