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SPEAK UP Chennai Province (INM)

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David Maria Selvam, Chennai says,
Liberal disciplinarians
By David Maria Selvam SDB
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Chennai, Jan. 25. Call it an Oxymoron or a Paradox, it is the reality.

I remember punishing Justin one of the boarders for being late for the evening study. I made him stand outside the study hall the whole evening. I cut games for the following two days. I told this to Fr. Rector to save my name. The reasons for my justification

    I told him several times to be on time
    Punctuality has got a value in itself
    I need to be firm and strict

I can go on giving you a list containing my justifications.

It was winter and therefore still it was dark in the morning and therefore I rose late from the bed and was late for prayer. My rector told me gently that I should be on time for lauds. The following morning I rose up on time and was about to proceed to the chapel but I suddenly had some problem with my stomach, most probably due to the chill climate. I spent the following 20 minutes in the restroom. Therefore I was late for the lauds the following day. The rector asked again and I told him the reason and he accepted. On the third day I got up late because my alarm failed to do the job. What would I do?

I can still justify my action


    All of us tend to sleep long during winter
    Proper attention to be given to the running stomach.
    Machine (alarm clock) failed to do the job

I received the scrutiny for that term. The house council has pointed out that I was weak in the area of punctuality. I was very upset. As soon as I came out of the rector`s office I started grumbling sorry (sharing) with my companion. ``These people who are in the council think they are perfect. I had valid reasons for coming late. They never understand the feelings of the younger confreres. Rules are made for us; we are not made for rules. None of them in the council has the moral right to judge me for some day or rather all were late. Where is freedom? Where is liberty? I will not be like these people when I occupy the positions. I have many more outbursts but I shall stop here.``

Will it not be the same feeling for Justin towards me? Does he not have the rights to grumble against me? How can I be more understanding towards the younger confreres when I grow old if I do not practice it now? I need freedom but I never give chance for the boys to exercise it. I want liberty but I expect rigorous discipline from the boys? I expect that no confrere should speak about me badly to the rector when I give the detailed account  of boys` mistakes to the rector. I do not want to get caught by the elders but feel elated when I catch a boy red handed during a mistake.
What shall I call AN OXYMORON OR A PARADOX?

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