“Above all, don’t lie to yourself.
The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that
he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him,
and so loses all respect for himself and for others.
And having no respect he ceases to love.”
“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.”
(Liberty Leading the People /Eugène Delacroix /1830 / The Louvre)
I try as best as I can to bite my tongue when it comes to the leaders of other nations.
There are some world leaders that I don’t care for…for a laundry list of reasons.
Some who disapoint me by their lack of decent leadership or simply because they make
the US some sort of target of their attacks…be they actual or merely verbal.
If they are in some sort of idiotic tit for tat with us, causing waves for
us here in the US, that is when I will let my “Irish” show.
But as I say, I try not to make that much of a focus here…
I try to always be respectful of their positions while acknowledging that they are not my
sitting “leader” but rather they are leading another nation whose people either dutifully
elected them or sadly inherited them.
Not my problem, not my fight…
But like I say, if there is a serious issue cast our way because of them,
then it’s usually gloves off and Katie bar the door.
And as both a retired educator, parent and now grandparent, I totally understand the
importance of what is known as a teachable moment.
Those instances in life that often veer from the subject or issue at hand yet
moments that allow themselves to be presented as a life lesson…
and it is usually a very important life lesson.
One that, more often then not, trumps whatever it is happening at the current instance.
Take this recent clip of France’s president Emmanuel Macron greeting the crowd…
a crowd that happens to be made up of mostly young teens.
I am rather indifferent to Macron as France is his and he has been, for the most part,
respectful of the US as we are in turn to France.
However recently having viewed a short video clip of Mr. Macron working a crowd,
I have become most impressed with this young vibrant president.
So imagine if you will a crowd of youthful school kids getting the opportunity to see their
equally youthful and dynamic President up close, shaking his hand,
even posing for a selfie…all of which is a really big deal to a kid.
But it was not as big of a deal compared to what the President of France does durning this moment.
President Macron stops what he’s doing in order to give one of those teachable moments
himself to one of those impressionable kids…..
It seems that there was one particular teen in the crowd who decided to show out by
addressing the President by a nickname, ‘Manu’…a shortened nickname for Emmanuel.
A name I suspect this kid has heard from the French press, his family, friends and others…
yet a name reserved to be shared privately between the people and not one to be used
when meeting the President, face to face, for the very first time.
And not the sort of name a 13 or so aged kid should use when addressing an adult of
whom he does not personally know…particularly out in public.
It’s with a bit of swagger this cheeky kid leans over the rope and asks “how’s it going Manu..”
At which the President quickly stops and dresses down this young man.
He tells the kid, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘No, no, no…this is not the time nor
the place to call me that or to act the fool. Today is a day of respect for past partisians.
Here it is to be either Sir or Mr. President or President Macron.”
President Macron then begins to continue moving down the crowd but actually steps back toward
this now cowtide and somewhat embarrassed apologetic young man.
He tells the kid, “if you want to start a revolution, good, but first, you must earn a degree,
you must make money to feed yourself…ok?”
Obviously, I hope this makes an impression on this young man.
I hope that he has learned a fast and hard lesson regarding respect…
respect firstly for an adult, and then secondly for a leading official of his nation.
There was a time when such a moment would not have made such an impression on me across
this great dividing pond as such an incident would not have been filmed nor recorded.
It would be just a blip on the lives of just those present.
But thanks to modern technology, this kid will never be able to forget or hide from the
fact that he acted disrespectful to the President of France.
And that the President then reprimanded him.
President Macron could have ignored the boy and kept working the crowd, but thankfully he didn’t.
He stopped to offer this young man an important life lesson.
I only pray more adults would stop to take the time to “teach” our youth the importance of
place, time and that of respect.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.