Keep the Focus on the Future

Recent events have brought back to mind a disturbing incident that occurred many years back, during my middle school years, in fact.

We were outside enjoying recess on a sunny day when a group of 15 kids came marching out of the principal’s office headed for one of our playmates, who was off to himself on a far side of the playground. The 15 kids — all boys — surrounded the lone student and apparently a fist fight broke out.

Before we knew what happened, the kid was dismembered. You can imagine our surprise. The 15 kids quickly disappeared around a corner, and the principal appeared to reassure the rest of us that the poor lone student was just fine and had been seen leaving the playground. That seemed hard to believe, but, well….

The next day the principal told us that he had no idea what had happened on the playground. The following day he announced that a group of “rogue kids” had showed up in his office but that he had no idea what they were up to. And later the principal told us that there had been a misunderstanding and that the 15 kids had only gone outside to tell the student it was time to return to class and that regrettably a fight broke out.

You know, those things just happen, don’t they? And besides, the principal added that he had no idea that anything might go wrong. Further, he assured us the 15 students would be suspended from school for at least three days.

I think there were some parents who were a tad upset about this, but they didn’t want to ruin the school year for anyone else or anything like that, so the incident was largely forgotten.

I managed to put it out of my mind until that recent story about the disappearing Saudi journalist. But I’m sure we’ll all forget about that soon. After all, it’s important to keep our focus on the future