Of Teachers and Thieves

Dr. Ricardo B. de los Santos, PhD

Only lately did I read an ingenious story of a teacher who prevented disclosure of a thief’s identity in class which made him an idol of the thief who decide also to become a teacher because of the great example given. The perpetrator stole the watch of a classmate and sagaciously the teacher decided that since the theft was made inside the classroom then the problem had to be resolved within. The students were made to form a circle with their eyes closed and were all frisked and there, the watch was recovered with as one knowing who the thief was.

The teacher was kind enough to spare the kid from being identified and avoid humiliation in class. This made a great impression upon the kid who also became a teacher idolizing his teacher. And when he was already a teacher, he came back to his idol to express his gratitude. The great teacher was surprised and asked him if it was indeed him. This was because when he was making bodily search he was also doing it with his eyes closed so that he wouldn’t know the identity of the thief. Great story indeed. Quickly, undeniably laden with values of impartiality, understanding and forgiveness on the part of the teacher who was idolized.

I was also a theft when I was a child. At the age of six, I was leader of a fun-loving group of kids who are in fact older than me. We were vacationing in Ando Island, Eastern Samar. Someone complained he was hungry and so I decided to steal some papaya in a farm laden with so many melon tree fruits. But the farmer of an adjoining farm saw us and told my mother. Confronted, I told the truth to my mother, I was the mastermind, the others simply followed. I was given the rod and I learned something and something else. It was a Balan farm. We own it. But still justice must be given. No need to close one’s eyes.

In grade school, I was also humiliated because of another theft. I always listened to my mother even if her pronouncement may be sometimes strange. A new president was elected and then my mother said a stranger thing. She said, “I do not trust this new one. I feel that he is going to change how we look at truth and he will also restrict freedom and how children learn.” It made a great impression on me. She was my idol. And then one day, I saw the books being burned on the school ground by strange looking men. I waited till they went for some refreshments and stole just one large book which is about the history of the world. They must be changing the history of the world. But someone told on me. I had it perfectly hidden among the bushes. I didn’t deny it. I’m a habitual visitor to the guidance office, anyway. Again, I got punished by my mother. And I had this humiliation as the book thief. I’m glad my first teacher was my mother. She had a real sense of justice. Although at times, she was partial and unkind. And of course, she lacked the understanding of how she influenced me into my errant action. For the men were just following government policy of burning obsolete books so as to update them with new ones. Aggiornamento! The nuance of modernism.

I still love my mother very much. May she have a complete purgation of her sins. May she be given eternal rest. She had too many children. Literally and spiritually. I am both.

I too have many spiritual children. And when something wrong had been done there was no need for humiliation. But I can not just listen to one side which is always complaining. I had to listen to others, too, when enough has been given and there is still clamor. Anyways, humiliation only comes when there is no humility to accept one’s mistake. But of course, every chance have to be given. I have satiated myself with carica papaya alongside my gang. And altho I wasn’t able to read that history of the world singed with fire. I had a satisfaction of stealing from a ring of six men without them noticing. I had no idea of historical revisionism then but I know the Truth can not be altered or mutated as they do now. And so I have to face the consequences and receive the punishment. And this had taught me how to be kinder, and imparted even with a lot more to understand that is why I know how to listen, not only with ears, but with my heart.

Even before retirement, I had been punished for taking the cudgels for my people. For some of my superiors had been too proud to accept their mistakes. I had been partial to those who intimidate and/ or bully others for their imperfections but blind to their own defects. And I had been unkind enough to cause the imprisonment of one department head who used his office to molest a student. But in all these I was willing to learn if they were willing to make me understand.

Humiliation occurs only when one is too proud to accept his mistake. Humiliation occurs only when one aggresses too much, whining and complaining about others mistakes and being unforgiving. In being unforgiving one could not even forgive himself.

As a guidance counselor, I confiscated many harmful objects from students from iron knuckles, blades, to improvised guns (sumpak) but I didn’t have to close my eyes. These was in 1992, at the height of “gangsta” days of True Brown Shirt. Crimebusters, and other fad groups. Those who were punished and listened graduated. But those who did not listen, didn’t come to school anymore and one even died with stab wounds on Longos bridge because even the parents denied their child was a gangster. I have no regrets being just to those who inflicted harm on others just to prove their point.

Nobody can claim I lacked the understanding of these young people. Actually my kidney problem started with almost an endless queue of students wanting to be counseled. I was a counselor who listened and never shamed anyone from their embarrassing stories. My guidance office was not a silence place where school reports are statistically treated for the sake of the Division. My guidance office was indeed a busy place where problematic students can really find relief.
And so going back to the story wonderfully-crafted I am just concerned with the very ideal sample of a teacher who does not humiliate. For one, I already said that there was no need for humiliation. But I also find it unnecessary to close my eyes, on the side of the teacher.

Since this story is very WOKE, and very Franciscan in terms of the pope and not the saint, I find it had to believe that the teacher closed his eyes while frisking the students. The teacher should know the culprit, even if he wouldn’t want to humiliate him. All he had to do was talk to him without the knowledge of the class.
In the modernist WOKE world, the teacher could even be in trouble for doing a body search while a student had his eyes closed. A malicious student may accuse him of molestation, i.e. touching of body parts.

And why does he have to know the identity of the student? This is because he needed counseling. It’s not good to have the habit of stealing things. And besides, he could give the hint of forgiveness and reconciliation. The perpetrator should apologize to the victim and the latter should be taught how to forgive. Wonderful spiritual values that are now ignored in church.

When I was guidance counselor, I didn’t have the luxury, as it should be of punishing students. It was the principal who was the disciplining authority. Only, I have to tell her the circumstances grievous or mitigating concerning the student. Even when I was principal I prayed to God first before making any decision, or even if there is need to inform the Superintendent.

And so even now, I don’t have such paradosis. But I’m not one of those World Order Key Elementals who will be all for love and no justice. Or as in the words of Pope Francis, he had no right to condemn anyone. But who’s condemning anyone here? We only define what action was wrong and there is no need in closing one’s eyes here. Let us not forget the move “Eyes Wide Shut” and the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

I can very well discern the spirit of the story well-woven. But again, I say there is no need for humiliation, for in the end it will not come from me nor from any human. Perhaps, if God allows a humiliation, it is because the steep pride was worth it. Today as we come to the end of times (not the end of the world) I only invoke one Disciplining Authority, the Divine Advocate who we call God.
And I rest my case.

In the afterlife, if allowed by God, my mother would be smiling about her child who from being a thief retired as an untiring principal.

Dr. Ricardo B. de los Santos
Child Protection Specialist II

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