This week newsman Brian Williams snubbed Arsenio Hall while doing a story about late-night television shows. The Tonight Show has had a changing of the guards of sorts with Jimmy Fallon replacing Jay Leno. It’s been a big story in the entertainment biz for the last few weeks, and Williams’ story failed to mention Hall’s show while giving an overview of the current Late Night Shows. Regardless of the reason (as many have been speculated on), Williams’ apology and Hall’s acceptance of it kind of diffused the situation rather than ruffling a ton of feathers. It was reported on the news, and that was that…done. They both behaved like civilized adults, rather than what we usually see in the news these days.
I’ve been thinking about apologies recently. Why are they so hard for people? There seems to be this idea that saying sorry or admitting to be in the wrong is a sign of weakness. Where really, the denying or finger pointing that happens so often instead is taking the easy way out.
It’s funny that with most kids, denying wrong doing is kind of a knee-jerk reaction. “I didn’t do it,” is heard in schools around the world. But, you can expect that from a child, as a child is still learning how to be a civilized human being. What is really telling is how many more parents these days blame the school/teacher when they are notified of their child’s wrong doing. Kids make mistakes, that’s normal, why then is it so hard for a parent to accept when that happens. In my short career, the blaming of everyone except the child/parent has become more prevalent. The apple doesn’t fall far in most cases.
Bad drivers can’t even take responsibility for their actions. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone driving poorly almost crash into another car, and would have if the other driver hadn’t used his/her horn. Rather than give an apologetic wave acknowledging fault or even just drive away ignoring it, what does the bad driver do? Gives the finger or shows some other aggressive action. I bet this inability to admit being wrong is single handedly increasing the road-rage incidents in this country. I know a time or two I have wished I was driving a tank and could crash into the idiot who has almost run into me and then flipped me off after I used my horn.
On a grander scale we have all these scandals in our governments and in our churches – people who are doing bad things. I continue to wonder why these institutions continue to deny and sweep under the rug these scandals. Their credibility would go a lot farther if they’d just apologize. The Catholic Church may finally be moving in that direction with the current Pope, but my goodness – the years and years of denial has just made them look like idiots.
Over the last couple of weeks the teachers in my district have been in an uproar over a new compensation package being offered by the district. I know people hate to hear about teachers wanting a raise since we get “summers off” and make too much money already, but in our defense we haven’t had an increase in salary in 10 years and the previous 3 years have voluntarily taken furlough days to help keep the jobs of teachers with less experience. The cost of living has increased tremendously in the last 10 years and our pay has decreased. So it is time. To be perfectly honest, the increase being offered is abysmal – cents more a day. Sure, it’s probably better than nothing, but the amount is almost insulting. And the district doesn’t seem to understand why the teachers are not happy with it. Now we are not going on strike or anything over it, but there is some concern over the fact that as a whole the teachers in my district are VERY hardworking and a lot are starting to feel taken advantage of – we’re going to do the job well regardless of the money because that’s who we are. In the meantime, the district can not fathom why we are not happy about the increase because they worked very hard to get us even anything with the state of California’s budget crisis. And throughout these few weeks, the only thing I keep thinking is why can’t the powers that be just admit that the amount is truly inadequate of what we deserve, apologize, and say that they would offer more if it were available. I know it wouldn’t work on everyone, but I think it would go a long way for most…It would make me feel better about it anyway.