The New York Times has a fascinating article today about Lincoln and The Mormons. It explains that he basically made a deal to leave them alone and they left him alone. This is what he told a Mormon leader:
When I was a boy on the farm in Illinois there was a great deal of timber on the farm which we had to clear away. Occasionally we would come to a log which had fallen down. It was too hard to split, too wet to burn, and too heavy to move, so we plowed around it.
In other words, there are some battles not worth fighting, which also happens to be a community organizing axiom.
I also think it’s also a good classroom management guide. We need to “keep on our eyes on the prize” and not get sucked into distracting conflicts.
If a student just keeps on forgetting to bring a pencil to class, I just give him one from a big box of golf pencils I buy at the beginning of each school year. If they don’t have paper, I have stack. I’ve got bigger fish to fry, like helping them developing intrinsic motivation to read the first book in their lives and develop an appetite for learning.