Today, I was approaching the high school on my mid-day walk. Yes, the big local high school with it's broad Frank Lloyd Wright eves. I've written about it before. Here it is.
As I got closer, I was able to discern that this man was some official from the high school, and he was telling the young people to move down the street, away from the house beside which they stood. Our town is densely populated, with houses all around the high school, and over the years, there have been complaints from those who live nearby about students being disruptive or loud, or littering. I will say right off that the man who was telling the students to move was black, and the students were white. None of them looked like trouble makers (the man or the kids). One girl was trying to eat a piece of pizza.
Because it took me a while to come up into the action, I missed some of the dialogue, but the kids did begrudgingly begin to move themselves along, and I heard one boy say, "We're not on private property. We're not on anyone's property." Which was certainly true. As I passed the man, I nodded in sympathy with him and said, "Hard job." And he nodded to show casual agreement.
As I continued on, turning this scene over in my mind, as I so often do with scenes I witness along my way, I thought I could have said to the group, and especially to the boy who made the protest about the private property, that he was correct. But correct does not always mean right. For example, what if someone in the house that they were clustered beside had been up all night working, and needed to sleep but couldn't because of the noise they were making?
What if an exhausted parent was trying to put a child down for a nap?
What if someone had a home office and was trying to concentrate on an important and complex problem?
What if someone was ill and in pain and need to rest?
Wouldn't they want to make life easier for those people in the house?