A missed Opportunity

The other day at my son’s school I passed some Year-Five kids playing when I notice three boys rolling on the ground wrestling…then punching.

The teacher standing on the hill overlooking the field where the boys were suddenly realised this and yelled for them to stop it. They did.

The teacher stayed at this distance and yelled

Dylan, what are you doing punching Jasper?”

“He was being mean.”

“Jasper?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t be mean!

Yeah.”

The boys walked away from each other and the teacher strolled off toward the staff-room.

Clearly he saw the incident resolved. I didn’t. I saw it as the perfect opportunity for the kids to learn and grow. Not ignoring it, not berating or punishing them, but using this experience as a time to help the kids understand the rationale for not acting in certain ways and to encourage exploration of alternatives.

A perfect time to be clear about why physical violence is unacceptable.

A perfect time to engage in conversation about how to deal effectively with someone who is pissing us off (ignoring the issue of whose right and whose wrong).

A perfect time to teach boys that one of the agreements we have made as a community is that we have a right to be physically safe.

A perfect time to teach them the wisdom of choosing and taking responsibility for how they react to things.

A perfect time to talk of how it feels when mean things are said and how it feels to be scared.

A perfect time to contribute positively to the teenagers then adults these young fellows will become.

Whether we are teaching or parenting it seems to me we must be willing to stop and use these moments to encourage our kids to be the best they can be.  We can’t be “too busy”. You’d be amazed how well kids and teens respond to reason and explanation delivered in a manner that says you’re on their side. And when this happens you’d be gob-smacked to see what this one moment can mean for who they become.

So this post is not so much about violence or bullying. It’s about taking the time as role models to be the best we can be so that our kids have the chance to be the best they can be. Imagine what our community could become.

That’s what I reckon anyway 🙂

Cheers Leesa

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4 thoughts on “A missed Opportunity

  1. Amen, Leesa. Punishment is not the point; in fact, it makes the bullies feel more justified the next time. It’s about the examples we set. I brought that up in church, when I asked for prayers, not just for the kids who were being bullies, but for the bullies and that their parents would search their hearts and think about what they were teaching their kids.

    Great work, Leesa! Amy BL
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/in-the-mirror-carry-on-tuesday/

  2. I agree. I think it is strange how, just in my lifetime it seems, people have started running away from their issues rather than taking the time and responsibility to handle them. I’m not a parent, but topics like this are the the important ones that I have begun to take into consideration for when I do become a parent.

    I really enjoyed reading your post.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the read Jabin! We do run away so much…or at least just run and hence miss so many opportunities to learn, to grow and to teach. Then we wonder why things get so messy. There’ll be many more posts to come on this, particularly related to our role-modelling to kids for if we want a well-balanced flourishing community we must raise well balanced flourishing kids and it ain’t rocket science…though it does require some serious reprioritising.

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