Friday, 6 November 2009

Because I'm worth it?

Why is it that sometimes those who achieve high office or responsibility develop such a strong sense of personal entitlement that they lose their moral perspective? And it’s not just dictators, bankers and MPs.

The question is prompted by a story today of resignations, sacking and suspension for disciplinary reasons of the senior leadership of a school and its governing body “after senior teachers allegedly paid themselves £1m in bonuses” Yet another high profile, much lauded head teacher bites the dust.

What gets into the minds of people responsible for running values-based organisations that they can behave in ways contrary to that which they espouse? We might expect it of bankers who after all only practice what they preach in making money. Schools work, or should do, on the principle that their own practice of communal life expresses the values they want to promote. I don’t think that many schools get their students to read Animal Farm to help them see the importance of getting their snouts first in the trough filled at the expense of everyone else’s rations.

It’s not only self-delusional head teachers. I’ve seen too many church leaders filled with a sense of personal entitlement, demanding five-star treatment, often at the expense of their own impoverished communities. I’m afraid that their saying that this is a way of showing respect to God does not wash with me. Perhaps following the example of Jesus in a less ostentatious lifestyle would be better.

The human mind is an amazing thing. It can believe and advocate fine sounding values and practices. At one and the same time, it can create a story about what I’m worth, how I’m entitled to that and how it is actually important for the people who pay the cost for me to be treated in this way. And it doesn’t make any connection between the two! But that’s no excuse.

1 comment:

  1. Every human being "is worth it" but of course the more some take the less there is for all the rest. All of us enjoy luxury and our culture makes us want to aspire to luxury and more rather than to happiness ...
    When I read Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom I was very struck by how he encouraged others in the struggle to get used to eating less because once in prison hunger for food would not be something their gaolers could use against them.
    Anyway thanks for this - I've just been blogging about bishop and his bike.
    btw I think you would enjoy Janet Lees latest holy wet haddock awards over on her blog