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Education is… well, education. I’m working in a school now, and it’s a good job. You make observations though, day by day.

The overall mindset of the schools is wrong. I don’t think people realize how much of an impact teachers have on children, and their mindsets. Young, malleable minds. It can be as simple as solving a playground dispute. Who did what? Who needs to apologize? Teach them how to care for their classmates. “Check to make sure they’re all right,” I tell the child in the wrong. And if it was an accident: “You’re not in trouble, but you need to come tell a teacher next time.”

Other times, it’s a matter of language. You get the tattle tales: “So-and-so said a bad word.” You go to talk with the child about it. He can’t help it, he says, they just come into his head. Here, this is an opportunity for a life lesson. “Bad words can come into your head, but that doesn’t mean you need to say them. It’s your choice.”

It’s as simple as pouring love into their lives–actions sometimes, instead of words. I love their laughter as I swing them higher and higher on the swings. I love their giggles and squeals as I playfully snatch at their feet on the playgrounds above. I love the joy when they do well in the homework, no matter how difficult a child they are to work with. I love when I find the best way to communicate with them. I love when they try out my large words on their small tongues: “You ‘ppreciate it?” my boy asks. I have to pause a moment to have him repeat it. “Oh!” I say, “Do you mean ‘appreciate’?” Yes, he did. The word I’ve used with him so often (“I appreciate your hard work,” “I appreciate your listening ears,” “I appreciate you working so well today”), he is now using.

One thing education is lacking though, is respect and discipline. The education system teaches that children are to be “empowered.” I don’t care how much it upsets them to do their schoolwork, they are at school for that very purpose, and I don’t like putting up temper tantrums. The last thing that kid needs is for you to be all sympathetic. Sure, sometimes they need a hug. But most times, they honestly need you to be firm with them. They need to know that their temper tantrums will not sway you. They need to know that you are an authority figure. This is a life skill. They need to learn respect, love, hard work, caring for others, protecting the weak, taking time for younger children. If we’re not careful, we will raise a whole host of self-actualized tyrants.

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