Set up for failure?

Have you ever felt that you had been set up?  I mean, everything orchestrated so that you would mess up and fail?  And has this been done under the guise of ‘friendship?’

I believe that I have witnessed such machinations in the past, and I believe I was witness to one last night.  One such instance concerned a young woman who had a history of eating disorders.  She had worked her way to a normal eating pattern.  However, someone in her church was putting pressure on her to begin a season of fasting.   She was concerned about going on a long schedule of fasting due to her past history with anorexia.   I could totally understand her perspective.  I counseled her to fast something other than food, (internet, television, movies, etc) in light of her past struggles.   To say she felt relief at good common sense advice was an understatement.

Last night, I spoke with a young man who had struggled with substance abuse.  He had voluntarily submitted to a rehab program, and was doing well.   Last night, the powers that be took him to a class on substance abuse.  I am glad that these resources are available, and glad that the management is supportive.  However, the class was cancelled.  Why no one knew this before they traveled the 1.5 hours to the venue, I don’t know.  However, thus was the state of events.

Now, the rehab center has rules and regulations for the protection of all concerned.  I totally understand that.  It was deemed appropriate for these two men to drive 1.5 hours with no communication.  No pager and no cell phone.  I am under the impression that the reason for this rule is that the supervisors want the students to have no contact with undesirable people while they are forging new thought patterns and new habits.   Totally understand this.

However, this particular plan did not go as designed.  The educational opportunity was near the city center, and as such was in an area which is well-known for its seedier denizens.   It is a known for its gang activity, its prostitution, and its seedier businesses.   The student was, as I said, dropped off at the school.  The driver left, heading back to the rehab center.  As there were no phones, there could be no intercepting phone call to tell the driver to turn around.

As the saga continues, there was a time period of about three hours between deposit and collection of the young man who needed to take this class.  During this interim, there were various opportunities for mischief.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I am a teacher at heart.  I used to be a teacher by profession, and I know that there are students who think that the teacher uses tests to ‘trick’ the students into failure.  As a professional, I know that you can only test what has been covered.  It looks very bad on the teacher if the exam is failed by the students.   No good teacher wants her students to fail.  It is an ‘atta girl’ for the teacher, when she looks at the test scores and knows that she adequately prepared her class.  This I know.

What I don’t know, and am interested in discussing, is whether this episode in drama was a test.  Was it an exam to test the young man’s resolve in ‘change’?  Was it a test of ‘conviction?’  Was it a test of ‘submission?’

I heard this story first hand from the mother of this young man.  She reports that the evening ended well, without any mishap in any direction, other than wasted time.  I can tell you that she was not happy about what she considers as risky behavior by the center.  I have to agree with her.  As a teacher, you don’t set your pupils up for failure.

What do you think?  What is the motive here?

Until next time,

Dr. Polly