Atticus Finch is the lead character in To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee which I just happened to see this past weekend being spectacularly performed by the Main Street School Of Performing Arts (MSSPA). To Kill A Mocking Bird is a coming of age story about reducing discrimination and understanding another person's plight in life. Mike Jeffries is the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch which sells clothing to coming of age children by discriminating against the plight of other people. Did you see the difference?
This difference was not lost on me while I watched the intimate, and powerful performance this past weekend from the students at MSSPA. I had just read numerous articles about Mr. Jeffries and his outright stance against selling to anybody who was not seen as cool. You see, as an at home dad, I have a passion about reducing bullying in our schools and other organizations. I have witnessed countless children bullied because of their background, race, heritage, living conditions, religion and yes, even their clothing. For a long time, I couldn't understand how children who come into this world so innocent and open minded, could work so hard at abusing other children. But as I watched I saw a pattern of abuse reinforcement and failure to act by adults that fueled the bullying system through discriminatory choices, religion shrouded in "club" morality, turning the other way, popularity stoking, role modeling mean, mental manipulation, and even physical abuse.
If the response from Mr. Jeffries was to be I can do whatever I want and everybody else does it anyway. Then as a 50 year old at home dad who strives to help all children succeed and not to judge, I can only say what Atticus Finch said to Scout, "From now on it'll be everybody less one."