Let Them Play

Wow.  I don’t even know where to start.  

At 10:30am, Thursday September 24, 2020.  I was starting my third period guitar class. 

I received a phone call from the principal’s secretary.  

“Paul, I am so sorry.  Rob can not make it to the evaluation today.  He has just been called to an important meeting.  He has to re-schedule.” 

I started to cry.

I responded, “That just adds to my day.  I don’t want to be a part of what is coming to our school.”  

She responds in a very kind way.  “I am so sorry.  I am giving you a virtual hug.” 

Earlier that day, I was informed that four students (two saxophone players / two trumpet players) can not play their instruments in a 330 seat theater.  Too much of risk.  What in the world?  

Also, that day we were given some articles to read.  Encouraged to read.  Our school is working with an organization to “stop racism.”  Something that really challenges me personally.  I am not racist.  Just because I am a white male does not automatically make me “fill-in-the-blank.” 

When I read titles such as, “What if…White People Took Responsibility for Our Role in this Moment? by Kathleen Osta and It’s Not Complicated — White People Must Do Their Part to Dismantle White Supremacy by Lisa Lasky, I actually fell insulted.  I feel I am being attacked.  I feel those articles are racist.  

I felt as if I had made a mistake in staying in California, let alone in my current position.  Therefore, I was crying out of being hurt.  

My love for high school music education, something I have done since July 3, 1989, is being taken away or at least factually being fundamentally changed in a direction that pains me. 

My love for people working together was being questioned through an organization that is sharing works that I mentioned.  According to that organization, because I am a a heterosexual / Christian / Caucasian male / 54 years-old, I need “training.”  

I am going to remember September 24, 2020 as another catalyst for growth in faith.  A growth in Stoicism.  I am sensing a Spiritual Warfare like no other time I can recall.  I am sure there have been other times.  I know there are others, but none more powerful than now. 

I have been very open about the fact that my chances of getting COVID-19 are high.  Therefore, for me to continue to be a high school music teacher means I have accepted the choice to meet the increase risk head on.  But in so doing, I want the return to be increased as well.

Don’t see that increase in return, yet. 


  • If four students can not play their instruments inside a 330 seat theater… 
  • If I am being “coached” to believe that white people are “bad people” (quotes for a reason – calm down)… 
  • If 30% of the student body is returning / even the possibility of a higher number STILL LEADING TO LESS THAN HALF are returning…
  • If forty teachers are staying home to teach DISTANCE LEARNING…

What is the return from the risk of being in a classroom with maybe 10 ten of sixty students sitting in their chairs who can not play their instruments? 

What is the return?  

I don’t know.  Maybe you can help me look for the “return?”  The “return” being “equitable” (a buzz word for sure – SIGH).  Sincerely.  Please let me know what is the “return.”  I don’t see it.  Yet. 

I go back to school on Monday, September 28, 2020 with a bruised heart.  Not broken.  My wife.  My God are not allowing my heart to be broken.  

Bruised?  Hurt?  Absolutely.  

When you see others across the nation enjoying some sense of return to their activities and you have been told – no, you don’t get the same experience…   hmmmmmmm … I have new “appreciation” / “understanding” what it is like to not have the same opportunities.  Something many people having been fighting for – for generations.  

I know by sharing this with you all… it is a risk.  Now, what will be the return?  

Let them play.