By: Elizabeth Wong
On our campus we pride ourselves for being more responsible young adults than on many other college campuses. We are known for the guys watching out for the girls, people going to Mass on Sunday mornings, and students writing “J.M.J.” (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) on the top of their blue books before an exam.
But even then, we’re not as unlike our counterparts as much as we’d like to believe.
We still enable our lazy classmates who sleep through all their classes by taking notes for them, and we shrug when we learn that “that friend” from freshman year has gotten himself or herself drunk yet again from partying just a little to hard the night before.
Often, this is permitted to go on in the name of “loving” them. This is absurd. We’re not loving our significant other by letting her speak poorly of her self image, and then letting her think she can survive on lettuce and water diets. We’re not loving our roommate by being a doormat and letting him leave a mess all over our side of the room, and saying nothing because that might offend him.
This isn’t caring for people, or “meeting them where they’re at”— a common phrase to use. This comes down to a simple lack of responsibility for other peoples’ dignity.
I don’t believe we care enough that we are passively permitting the destruction of other peoples’ lives around us. Yes, we might be pro-life and do work to support crisis pregnancy centers—by all means, we should keep doing this! But we’re really not supporting the thriving of life around us more immediately if we allow these other things to continue.
How can we even consider ourselves Christians if we remain silent? All it takes is for that friend/roommate/classmate to go a step too far in their escapades, and they’ve gotten themselves expelled from school for getting mixed up in drugs, or they fail all their classes because they missed one too many tests.
I know it’s way too easy to turn the other way and say that we’ll “pray for them that they’ll fix their lives up.” Sometimes, that’s the only thing you can do. But generally speaking, it’s much better to address the issue at hand, whether in a private conversation with the individual, or by contacting campus services for assistance in an especially serious situation.
Once we’ve graduated from Franciscan, we’re still going to have to deal with these types of situations. If we couldn’t stand up and care for the dignity of others while on a faith-packed campus, I doubt we’ll be able to do it in the real world.