Sometimes being bad is good.

As my readers may know, I am finishing up a Certificate of Advanced Study in Pastoral Counseling at Neumann University in Aston, PA. They may also know that I play bagpipes. So, I have tried to find rehearsal space at Neumann without much luck.

So, I just got tired of it and decided to just go and do it. So, since there is a significant gap in time between work and class (it is early in the semester, so I don’t have to worry too much about last minute work yet), I brought my pipes and picked a spot far away from the nearest buildings and played. I played well.

One of the occupational hazards of playing the pipes is that you tend to come in contact with a lot of people who wear blue who wear too many things on their belt. So, eventually, I noticed a woman approaching me in blue. Having been cornered by this animal before, I have known that the best course of action is to be polite and to stop. Immediately. They usually want one of two things:  for you to stop, or for you to play at their wedding or funeral or parade.  Well, she came up and wanted to make sure I had a right to be there, first off. I politely showed her my card, then she went back to her supervisor, who had asked her to find out what the heck I was doing. She came back and politely asked me to hold off on playing (sigh). I did so, politely.

On the way in to the academic building, the supervisor came out to meet me. He introduced himself and complemented me on my playing. He then apologized for having to put down the foot on it, but then volunteered to take my information and pass it on to the coach for the University and the band instructor. I mentioned to him that my pipe band meets 19 minutes/8 miles away from the school and that we are currently seeking new students. I told him of the quality of our instruction as well.

After a 5 minute discussion involving him walking with me for a while, he took my card and said he’d pass on the information to the coach (who might need a piper/band for games) and the music director. I thanked him for that and asked him to just cc: me on the email and that I’d be able to take it from there.

The point of all this? Sometimes we get quite anxious about challenges and are afraid to push the envelope. However, sometimes pushing the envelope, politely, is the right thing to do.

Anyone ever heard of Rosa Parks? Martin Luther King? Mahatma Gandhi?

These were average people who decided to step out of line every once in a while, politely. They changed our world for the better.

You can too, by politely stepping out of whatever prescribed role you are choosing to play in a situation you are in, politely. No guarantees as to result, but it is not always bad.

About Nate Prentice, MSW, LCSW, CAS-PC

Nate Prentice, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Pastoral Counselor who maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Drexel Hill, PA.
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