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Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Challenge for Teachers and Parents

Yesterday one of my children and I were discussing something and they said something that really made me think. They said how it is very hard for them - as teens - to hear over and over about how bad their generation is, and how the direction of their future, as a whole, seems to be headed in the wrong direction. It seems that some adults - teachers and parents - think that by tearing down hopes and dreams, they will really be building them up and are encouraging the youth they are instructing. NOT SO! Just NOT SO!

Many years ago another one of my children came home and told me how a school aide had told them how bad of a class they had. Supposedly they were labeled, at least by that individual, as the "worst" class in the elementary. I quickly went to talk to the individual and also talked to the principal. I discussed the whole thing with my child - reassuring him that their class wasn't bad, but also talking about why maybe they had that reputation with a few...or at least one. The class is full. There are many in that class with strong wills and loud voices - my son included. But also, the class is filled with gifted, smart, talented, energetic, and fun children who are excited about being in class and learning each day!

I'm a firm believer in the idea that "you get what you expect". I live by that phrase as a parent - as a mom. I live that as a Bible class teacher. If I was a school teacher (which I wouldn't be!), I would live by that phrase, as well.

I believe if you tell a child they'll never amount to anything, most likely they won't. Yes, there will be some who excel, no matter what they are told and led to believe, but many others won't. I believe if you tell a whole group of teens that they'll never amount to anything, that they're all lazy, and that their generation is going to fail, many will fail. More will fail by hearing that than would have without hearing the insult. Those who don't have strong parental support or a strong sense of self-worth or God-worth, will decide it's just not worth the effort. They may give up. They may become lazy. They may raise children with the same ideas. However, if you tell a group of teens that they CAN make it, that they WILL make it, that they ARE worthy, and that they CAN be successful and good workers with a STRONG work ethic, they'll believe it and do their best to achieve it. Many will be inspired to rise above their circumstances and make a choice to make a better life for themselves.

 So, here is the challenge for teachers and parents as we get ready to embark on a new school year:

BE ENCOURAGING.

USE YOUR WORDS WISELY.

REALIZE WORDS CAN DESTROY.

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

BUILD UP YOUR CHILD/STUDENTS, NOT WITH FALSE AND FLATTERING WORDS, BUT WITH WORDS THAT WILL ENCOURAGE THEM TO FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS.

PRAISE SUCCESSES - NO MATTER HOW SMALL.

WHEN FAILURE COMES - ENCOURAGE CHILDREN/STUDENTS TO RISE ABOVE AND TRY AGAIN.

INSTRUCT WISELY.

BE POSITIVE.

USE DISCIPLINE AS A TOOL TO TEACH AND ENCOURAGE CHILDREN/STUDENTS TO SET HIGH GOALS FOR THEMSELVES.

REALIZE THAT DISCIPLINE SHOWS THAT YOU CARE.

REMEMBER THAT WHAT YOU EXPECT IS WHAT YOU WILL GET - IN ALMOST ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.

REMEMBER THAT CHILDREN/STUDENTS LOOK UP TO YOU.

SET HIGH GOALS AND HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR YOURSELF.

REALIZE THAT CHILDREN/STUDENTS ARE WATCHING TO SEE THAT YOUR WORDS MIMIC YOUR ACTIONS.

REALIZE THAT CHILDREN/STUDENTS WILL LEARN FROM YOU AND MAY LIVE OUT THEIR LIVES BY WATCHING YOU.

BE A GOOD EXAMPLE.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO CRUSH A CHILD'S/STUDENT'S SPIRIT. 

REALIZE THAT NOT EVERYONE FITS INTO THE SAME MOLD.

REMEMBER THAT IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY (AND MINE) TO WORK WITH EACH CHILD/STUDENT, AS AN INDIVIDUAL (WITHIN REASON AS A TEACHER, OF COURSE. TEACHERS DON'T HAVE TIME TO DO ONE ON ONE TIME ALL OF THE TIME. PARENTS DO....OR SHOULD.) AS A PARENT, IT'S YOUR GOD-GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY.

AND AGAIN, BE ENCOURAGING.

For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

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