“When y’all change, then I’ll stand up,” was the message NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick sent out to the American citizens when he refused to rise for the national anthem.
While Colin and his imitators kneel or sit until someone has resolved social injustice, I thought about people who stand.
Miss Cassie is one. She teaches second grade to a diverse group of students. One of those students was sent to the principal’s office when he snuck up behind Miss Cassie and took a firm hold of her long hair.
“Could you, please, stop pulling Miss Cassie’s hair every time she sits down?” the principal asked.
“I’m not pulling her hair,” the second grader said mildly. “I was eating it.”
There was a short pause as the school administrator “digested” this little guy’s weird obsession.
“Could you, please, stop eating it?”
“I like tasting it,” the autistic child replied.
When told about the conversation, Miss Cassie shrugged and said her student was making a lot of progress otherwise, “So, I’ll just stand.”
“For the rest of the year?”
“Yeah,” Miss Cassie said, “It will be fine.”
I saw another teacher stand without complaining when a little down syndrome child cheerfully announced she forgot her tissue, and so, to solve this snot problem, she wiped a slimy streak against the instructor’s jean-clad leg.
Trey is a guy who spends a lot of time standing by the long jump pit. He hurries from a paying job so he can help coach track. When he’s particularly successful, then he takes time off work and drives the kids 200 miles up to state track. Often Trey makes sure these budding athletes have adequate nutrition by paying for meals himself.
Ralph has trouble standing. He is getting old, but hasn’t lost his passion for helping other entrepreneurs. That’s why he offers a seminar to all the 20 year olds who receive startup money from his cooperation.
The man who spent two hours on a plane bouncing a crying baby so the mother could sleep, isn’t a personal friend of mine, but I can’t help but love how he stood to help a woman he hadn’t met before arriving at the airport.
I also don’t know the cop who stood by my son’s motorcycle in the middle of the Nevada desert. Rather than arrest the young man for having an expired license and invalid registration, the highway patrolman gave a verbal warning.
“Get those dead tags taken care of as soon as possible. Now get going and be careful.”
My son and his friend tried to be careful as they hurried to a funeral where they were going to stand next to the casket of a fellow Marine.
Colin, and all you other athletes who have echoed the quarterback’s message, you can kneel or sit or raise your fist in the air hoping to change America. And then I hope, after the national anthem, you will stand with other good people and do something to make the change you wish to see.