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But How Many Did She Threaten To Kill?

Harriet Tubman remains a blazing star in the firmament of African American history. The “Moses” of African American slaves, the Conductor of the Underground Railroad, she lead many of our people to freedom. When her “passengers,” because of fear or other reasons, threatened to turn around and head back to slavery, she supposedly would pull out a gun and threaten, “You’ll live free or die a slave!” She never lost a single passenger, even when there was a $40,000 bounty on her head.

My question is, how many of her passengers did she threaten to kill?

I’m reminded of this because of an orientation speech given by the principal of PS 7 Middle School. In his speech, he talked about the character traits the school requires of its students, and one of them is “coachability” -- the willingness to take instruction and do whatever it takes to accomplish a goal. I would imagine that some of Harriet Tubman’s passengers may have ceased to be coachable when faced with swimming in snake-infested waters or when hearing the baying of blood hounds. A gun to the back of your head can make you pretty coachable, I suppose.

Well, my PS 7 experience is coming to an end on Friday. My great-nephew will return to his mom, as we have agreed to disagree on his coachability. I’m hoping he will continue attending the school, but, unlike Harriet Tubman, I don’t have a gun to threaten that he live free or die a proverbial slave. I just have to hope and pray for the best. This has been a wonderful learning experience for me, though, because it has reinforced what I knew in my heart to be true – that you can’t want something for someone more than they want it for themselves, or for their children for that matter. That you can’t make someone share your vision. Or, as Dr. Phil says, “Some people get it; some don’t.” I won’t waste whatever precious time I have left on this earth with people who don’t get it. I will wish them well, but without any significant expenditure of my time.

Besides, I missed my blog.


Jacqueline said…
I know the feeling all too well. Now...I won't reach out to help unless I'm asked. My head and my hand have been bitten off too many times.

Luckily, I still had some strength left to grow them back!

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