Thankfully, everywhere we go, we see children – large, small, loud, quiet, pretty and those who are growing into being attractive. It’s easy to identify children who are loved and cherished. They are generally good-natured, cooperative and have an invisible tether to mom or dad.
Then we see the children who seem to be inconvenient or superfluous to the adults with whom they are associated. We see adults screaming at kids, dragging them because they are unable to keep up the adult’s pace or worst of all, ignored.
As an educator and citizen of the world, I suggest that we have enormous potential to demonstrate actions that we want our children to emulate. Show compassion by freeing a visiting ladybug instead of squashing her. When you are in line and your grocery cart is full, invite someone with one or two items to proceed ahead of you. If a person ahead of you is short two or three cents, dig in your wallet to assist.
Display respect by respecting those in the children’s presence – strangers and family members. This process includes addressing those children in quiet tones and never diminishing or insulting their characters. Refrain from yelling at drivers who cut you off or tailgate your car, no matter how difficult this becomes. It really doesn’t serve any purpose. But being restrained and tolerant reinforces a commitment to live cooperatively with others.
The best example of this strategy’s efficacy was evidenced after school this past spring as I observed a troubled child walking ahead of his mom, damaging school property. Mom was oblivious to him and focused on texting. This was the child who had been thoroughly disruptive in the classroom and I couldn’t help but notice his mom’s disinterest. It may very well have been something extremely important that she was addressing on her phone. But it’s possible that if he is to learn respect, he needs to look elsewhere. Shalom.