You have to do it… not me. I have tried, but more and more I realize that only YOU can really do it. You have to create caring, loving, respectful adults out of the children you bring into this world. I did my part. I raised two adults who care about this world and treat people with respect. No, I was not a perfect parent, I smacked my older son more than I should have… I did not want to raise someone who saunters across the street daring cars to hit him, or someone who sits back in class smugly ignoring the teacher.
I am a teacher, and in my class I teach respect, caring, kindness and peace… but I should be teaching math, reading, science, art and music… I can’t get through what I need to because my day is constantly interrupted by children who are unkind or don’t know how to behave. But, as much as I try, they bring with them what they learn, or don’t learn, at home.
It is, at times, draining, hopeless, and full of frustration. It is, at times, joyful, exciting, and inspiring. I alter my plans with each nose that needs blowing, each shoe that needs tying, each scratch that needs a band-aide, and that is how it should be. But altering my plans because someone is refusing to follow directions, running out of the class, screaming that they hate math, cutting up their clothing, hiding in the coat closet, or throwing a tantrum is not acceptable…especially on a daily basis. It takes away from everyone else and it takes away from me.
My job has more stress than ever before and I wonder what I should do. Yes, I love them all as they are when they walk into my classroom, but I can not fix them. I am not enough, there isn’t enough time in my day, and I have a classroom of other children who also need me.
I am changing things daily, switching up expectations, spending more time on working as a team, teaching how to be kind and caring, and most recently showing Mister Rogers during quiet morning work time. I have tried meditation with children, self-talk, a peace pole, rewards, behavior cards, soft speak, singing, yoga, special seating, big buddies, and more… I have exhausted my resources and wonder what more I could do. But I realize that it must be you.
YOU need to do it.
What is it, you ask? ‘It’ is being a parent who raises children who are ready to attend school. How?
- Get rid of modern tech devices for any child under 6 or 7 years old
- Only allow slow moving, kindhearted or educational shows in your house. (Mister Rogers, Little Bear, Sesame Street, Blues Clues) – but really Mister Rogers is the gold star standard.
- Take your child to the library once or twice a week to check out books.
- Read to your child often- at least daily.
- Have family game nights. (teach how to be a good winner and loser)
- Play with blocks and other toys that don’t need batteries or have flashing lights.
- Give your child art supplies and things to write with.
- Make playdough.
- Give them whole healthy food to eat – cook together.
- Sing your child to sleep.
- Talk to them.
I am sure there is more that could be added… but these are a good start. YOU do have the power. I can’t do it alone.