Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), however, we were not permitted to respond to the misguided parent in kind. As per department policy, we would merely take the brief abuse patiently, listening respectfully, then immediately and politely direct that parent to discuss the subject with our department head. Our department head was very capable in dealing with such encounters. He was a full colonel with over 30 years in the Army, a Ph.D. from a top university, at least a couple of decades teaching English to thousands of cadets, and he was well-versed in dealing with difficult, misguided, or even delusional people. Of course, after we had directed the parent to our boss, that was always the last we would hear about the subject. We would not hear from the parent again, and we would not hear from the department head who did not take the situation seriously, recognizing that this was merely the sign of an overprotective, perhaps excessively prideful, parent who was not willing to relinquish control of a child and let him or her grow up.
Such occasionally delusional parents or cadets mentioned previously, just like the delusional American Idol contestants, were victims of their own excessive pride. The Greeks had a word for it: hubris. Hubris is extreme pride or arrogance and “often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments, or capabilities…” (from Wikipedia). In the Greek tragedies, a person with hubris is always in for a big, dramatic, and tragic fall. That was Achilles’ main flaw in the Iliad, if you’ve read Homer’s Iliad, written in 800 B.C., or seen the 2004 movie Troy, starring Brad Pitt as the legendary warrior Achilles. While Achilles would be permitted in ancient Greek culture to take revenge on Hector for the killing of his beloved cousin Patroclus, he went way beyond revenge by afterwards dragging Hector’s dead body behind his chariot across the Trojan plain in front of the city walls. He committed this despicable crime, the repeated desecration of Hector’s dead body, apparently, for the impact that it would have on the horrified Trojan people as they viewed this gruesome display from the walls of Troy.
We continue with this topic tomorrow. I pray that God would bless your day with His Truth, Love, Joy, Power, and Wisdom.