When I entered my last academic yesterday, a student asked me if Karma was real. I smiled simply. I asked him what he believed. He said he didn't know, but he felt like there were more bad things happening in his life these days.
Flash forward to today. Upon entering the class, I met the same child at the door and asked how Karma was working out for him and whether or not he was okay. He said his brother had fallen out of a dining room chair and that he'd laughed. Understandable, I thought. Maybe not the best reaction, but I've certainly had similar reactions myself. In Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land, Valentine Michael Smith comments on humanity when he notices the way we laugh when we witness someone's pain. Not the pain of suffering or death per se, but more 'injury at slipping on a banana' pain. Now, it's been awhile since I read Stranger, and it's one of my favs of Heinlein's, so I can't remember the commentary in its entirety, but what I do notice is that humans tend to laugh when we suffer as this student laughed. It becomes a teachable moment. Maybe I should lighten up a little, but it's in my best interest to teach students appropriate ways to interact with others---brothers, sisters, mom, dads, teachers, neighbors, etc... Oh yeah...and Karma. Evidently, he fell off his stool in science class--thus Karma biting him on the butt.