I read Blue Like Jazz, a fascinating book about modern Christian faith by Donald Miller. It has been awhile, but I recall the story of a conversation he had. His friend was trying to convince him that people behave better when they are watched. Miller was saying that, no, good people behaved well all the time. His friend finally asked him if he obeyed traffic laws when he was driving.
Miller felt like a good Christian person would obey the traffic laws all the time. Surely. Then his friend asked him, “Do you drive differently when a police car is following you?” Miller had to admit that he did.
Everyone I have asked says, “Yes!” It is not huge sample, but I suspect it is just about everyone.
People behave better when they know someone is watching.
Now that I think of it, even in a Christian church full of good Christian people they still have at least two people count the offering. School teachers and administrators know this. That is why they take hall duty or after school duty so seriously.
If you are not a teacher you may not know that watching students is one of the stress points of teaching. There are times when you are officially on duty supervising students. But this means nothing. Once students enter the building you are involved in their supervision until they leave. The only exception is a duty-free lunch. Most schools have this, but it is (ahem) a negotiated item and not a state law.
Some may wonder about the passing period in middle and high school. Teachers are supposed to supervise students during the passing period, frequently by their door. If there are other teachers in your hall you can make sure that they are watching and then use the restroom. If you need to use the restroom for any reason you have to call another teacher, or even the school office, to have someone come to your room to watch the students while you leave. Yes, you can just say “Screw it, I have to go.” And run down the hall to the rest room. You might even get away with it. But if any student gets hurt or bullied while you are out of the room it can have career-ending consequences. Stressful….
The two groups on planet earth who best know how to keep an eye on things are parents and teachers. So it is only fair to warn political leaders and/or legislators in Oklahoma that we are watching you. That’s right. The best watchers in the world are watching you. All the time. Really close. 20,000+ pairs of eyes close. We will know how you vote before you leave the chamber. The days of serving in OKC and then going home and glad handing all the folks on the weekend are way gone.
But no pressure, right? You just go ahead and do what you do. Never mind us.