Physical maturity occurs whether we want it to or not. We get taller and stronger and grow more hair. Our teeth fill in and the contours of our body arrange themselves in correspondence to our genders. Mental maturity is cultivated naturally as well. Our brain grows more cells and fills them with the knowledge we accumulate day in and day out. Most of our learning happens subconsciously and our mental development can be easily cultivated through the discipline provided by our elders. This can sometimes be difficult and there are many methods in existence to prove useful in educating the young, but the maturation of one's intellectual capabilities matches nowhere near as important as the cultivation of a person's emotional development.
Recently, my high school made national news for a suspension of 65 seniors on their last day of school. With a police escort in order, they all rode their bicycles to school together. Seemingly harmless and trivial on the surface, this small act was seen as a violation of a "no pranking" order mandated by the principal and agreed upon by the seniors. Whether or not the title of "prank" can be justly bestowed upon this situation is an argument for another time, but the principle of the matter is what's important. The principal--a woman who is new at the job, having only been at this school for a year--lost control of her emotions and made an unwise decision. An unexpected event pushed her buttons and she behaved inappropriately with anger and shock. Almost immediately, everyone attacked her. The press was hot on the case and students and parents rallied to voice their opinions on the incident. The poor woman didn't have time to see what hit her.
Being in a position of authority, such as the principal of a high school, demands a great deal of maturity. It calls for strong mental development, as the individual must possess experience and knowledge in many areas of management. But more importantly, it relies upon emotional maturity. This calls for a control of emotions. Rather than using them as deciding factors on situations, emotions are best used as consorts, something we can take advice from but make a decision separate from. By controlling emotions, one can evolve to become a wise and successful person. However, it takes a lot of work to cultivate, and may require many years in the making.
Personally, I have had great trouble in this area. For the longest time, I thought controlling emotions meant hiding them. For a few years, I never talked about them and tried to relay as few of them as I could. To me they were wild animals and I wanted to keep them locked in the cage that was my heart. As time moved on and circumstances changed, someone taught me to unlock that cage. I learned what it felt like to feel. All the emotions I locked away began to resurface and I learned to use them. However, as different circumstances arose and my emotions roamed free, I lost control of them. Generally petty incidents escalated to ridiculous proportions. I flailed at misconceived threats to my emotional well-being. Unable to control my feelings, I acted rashly and inappropriately. In a short period of time, I lost something I had cherished. I regret my lack of control, but I realize it was unavoidable, for I was emotionally immature.
The recent actions of my high school's new principal are no different. She reacted on emotional impulse because she cared that much. She wanted to hold her ground and control others without first controlling herself. I have done the same. I handed over the keys to my heart without taming the beasts that lied within. So when my untamed emotions attacked the holder, she ran away. With no keys left to keep the emotions behind bars, I had no choice but to tame them. Locking them in a cage, hiding them, was out of the question, and I could not function with them running wild, so I learned to control them. But I am still learning. The principal of the high school is also learning. There is a lot of stress for her to manage--as she is involved with the maturation of today's youth--and when all the cogs are not aligning properly, uncontrolled emotions can leap upon trivial instances when uncontrolled.
Like me, this principal has made a decision she will likely regret for many years. Instead of attacking her for this one mistake, let's recognize that she is human, like all of us. As humans, we are creatures inclined to fail, and we should realize that is always an option. We should support this woman for putting her whole heart into her very important job. She will learn from this situation and become a more evolved and mature person afterward, ready to tackle new challenges. Like all things, this was meant to be.
So let's keep moving forward. To grow. To evolve. To mature.
And there's my lecture for the day. That's all folks.