Tall poppies = Snip!
Ever seen one in ‘poppy life’? A real one, tall gangly and somewhat awkward looking? They stick out above the rest of the flowers, often supported by a stem that’s gawky and misshapen. If you plant a mass of them, the tall poppy looks out of place and it doesn’t take much to cut it back to make the mass look tidy again. Just a snip, and the head is gone. Seems like we don’t like tall poppies in the garden bed!
It seems like we don’t like them in our communities either. Every student knows that those who stick their neck out are likely to have it cut off. Snip!
There’s a group of students bantering together. The talk starts innocent and then takes a turn ‘south’ as sexual innuendos creep in. After some time, the tall poppy, awkward and somewhat misshapen tries to stop the flow, “hey guys, we shouldn’t talk this way.” What happens next?
As much as we like to think the talk stops, what often happens is: Snip!
There’s a chat on Instagram. It’s amazing how quickly these also can become inappropriate with gutter talk, coarse language and sinful content. But what is more surprising to most is that no one in the chat actually said something about it. And when you confront your child about why she didn’t just send a text to stop the flow, the bottom line comes to one word: Snip! She didn’t want to be the poppy because she knew it is easier to say nothing, than to be embarrassed by the Snip.
Or there is a student who continues to be disruptive in class. Everybody knows. Everybody deep down is sick of it. But after the lesson, no one tells the student that they’ve had enough, or that this is not God honouring.
They won’t because they are afraid of the Snip.
If you are a student, the truth of the matter is that poppies lose their heads and so lose their beauty and possibly their life. You probably think that applies to you as well.
However, as much as you might suffer a harsh word from others for taking the correct stand, the reality is that those whom you are correcting deep down are just saving face. And so, the snip will not result in a catastrophic event! At the end of the day, if being the poppy costs a friendship (which is generally unlikely), then it might be a good time to think about whether that friendship was really a friendship in the first place.
So here is the challenge: be the tall poppy, take the snip, and see what happens.
And if you are a parent, it might be a good time to have the “snip conversation.”
M Plug, Principal