It’s Okay To Say No

July 11th, 2013 § Leave a Comment

You might have read about the primary school teacher going “mad” in front of a group of children, punching an electric keyboard during an assembly before taking it outside and running it over in his car.

I expected to laugh at the story, but instead found myself thinking “that man has a point”.

Malcolm Hayes took the time during his meltdown to tell children to follow him outside – presumably to watch him destroy the offending keyboard and learn a rather startling lesson about the realities of adult life.

Whatever the real reason for Hayes’s brief sojourn outside social norms, part of me applauded him for embracing how he felt and just letting go for a moment. We’ve all felt like that sometimes. When life seems like an endless slog of work and bills with only an uncertain retirement and death to look forward to. When you realise you spend almost every waking hour on someone else’s dime and when was the last time you actually did something for yourself? When you wake up and you’re 40 and trapped by a mortgage and a family and what happened to travelling the world or being a zookeeper?

Anyone who laughs at moments of “madness” must never have had a dark night of the soul. We’re so switched on these days, so tied to constant updates on Facebook by people with more exciting lives than us, and bombarded with news stories about people more wealthy/attractive/successful than we are. Modern life is crafted to make us disatissfied, to make us crave more. More money, more possessions, more status – we’re all trapped in a system of that’s never heard of mental wellbeing and what’s even more terrifying – we can’t get off.

On reading the story about the primary school teacher gone mad, I only wondered why we don’t see more people having temporary breaks with society. The correct response isn’t laughter, it’s an understanding nod of the head. Malcolm Hayes said “no” to his life at that moment, and if we all said no sometimes we might feel better for it.

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