In elementary and middle school each teacher was rumored to have three small notepads in their desk. One was pink, another yellow, and lastly a blue pad of paper. The pink slips were for discipline issues, the yellow covered academic deficiencies, and the blue awarded for commendation. As a sixth grader, these colors were as important as green, yellow, and red to a teenager testing for their driver’s license. The thought of handing over a pink or yellow slip to a parent was mortifying, actually terrifying. The rare blue slips of commendation found their way into my hands a few times and I think I placed them in a file hoping they would contain long term value. If you handed any of these slips of paper with their carbon copy duplicate attached to a stranger they may get a curious glance but nothing more. Within the confines of elementary and middle school they carried the weight of a court-martial or medal of honor.
I laughed out loud today when I recalled these slips of paper. They are relics from a scrapbook. But they have been replaced in adult life by speeding tickets, being served legal papers, and awards of honor. Each tribe has their own tokens for appreciation and reprimand. The items themselves are merely placeholders for intentions. If we value the tribe we hold these tokens with high regard.
What tokens does your community celebrate or fear?