From The Ridge - The McCallie Blog

A Higher Standard

Posted by Kenny Sholl on November 03, 2010

Men of McCallie,

Last Wednesday, during the "What Every McCallie Man Should Know" program, a local attorney, Class of 1983, spoke to the seniors about what it means to turn 18 years of age from a legal standpoint.

It is amazing how that one birthday changes the way the legal system responds to you even though you are no more mature at age 17 years and 364 days than you are at 17 years and 365 days. There was one thing that he said during his presentation that really hit home with me:

“You are held to a higher standard than we were when we were your age.”

Our society is much more litigious than it was a generation ago. You men are much more accountable for your actions than we were at your age.

Without a doubt, he was correct in his statement. Our society is much more litigious than it was a generation ago. You men are much more accountable for your actions than we were at your age.

So what do you do in the face of these “higher standards”?

Be careful with social media. Always ask yourself the question, “What if this picture, taken with a cell phone camera, ends up on someone’s Facebook page?” There is very little privacy in today’s world. In all honesty, a better thought is, “I am better off to avoid types of behavior that shouldn’t be photographed.”

Don’t let virtual games take up too much of your time. I hate to admit this, but when my children got a Nintendo for Christmas in the early nineties, I got myself hooked on trying to help Mario defeat the dragon. I know how pathetic this sounds. The scary thing is that the games today are even more encompassing and addictive. Interesting studies show that the addiction of video games and computer screens is real, and the brain actually fires its synapses in patterns that are the same as other types of addictions.

Talk to people. Your generation will have to redefine what constitutes a face-to-face conversation in the future. Text messaging, while incredibly handy and efficient, doesn’t take the place of human contact even if it is a telephone conversation.

What gives me hope from what I see in your generation is a level of sensitivity that we didn’t seem to have at the same age. You guys are much more accepting of others and are not as threatened by different cultures and social mores. You have more empathy and are much more involved in community service. It is my opinion that you are better equipped to live up to these standards than the generations before you. To put it in the simplest possible terms, if you continue to make sound, ethical decisions, take care of yourselves, and put the needs of others at the forefront, these higher standards are achieved on a daily basis.

Men, with opportunities and increasing age come responsibilities. Keep up the good work!

Dean Sholl

P.S. Some of you dudes are in need of a haircut. It is always better to be pro-active.

Topics: A Word to the Wise, expectations, First Person, leadership, responsibility, standards, Upper School Life

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