Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our Actions Affect Our Children

I think we all like to blame others for our mistakes. Taking responsibility is a difficult task and one that is not only tough to swallow but also tough to chew. It's difficult to recognize when we are dodging our responsibilities at times but trust me when I say we ALL do it. You just might be less aware because you might not actually ever see how your slacking affects others, this morning is a perfect example.

I was doing my typical volunteer hour in the library where I almost exclusively re-shelve non-fiction books (those are the ones with numbers and letters). Two students came in late to the first class and maybe these students are habitually late, but none the less, they suffered dearly for their tardiness. Both had excuses about parents needing to do something before they brought the child to school (Dr. appointment for one and issues at school for the big brother of another). Both children were very ashamed, and both children got a small lecture from both the teacher and the librarian and then both children lost their privelage of the library use (standard policy from what I understood). Both were shown a desk they may sit at until their prompt classmates were done. I sneakily watched those students sad, alone, criticized, un-loved, ashamed and rejected.

Now before you think I'm judging the teacher or librarian or the parents of these children, do not be mistaken I am not. I am simply noticing that these two paid a dear price for their parent's choices this morning. To me it sounded like the parents had very valid reasons for the late arrival, maybe they could've rearranged the morning a little but regardless the children were late and the consequences for their parent's actions stood firm.

There are lots of reasons to hold true to rules and consequences, having been a coach in my previous life, I remember laying down blanket rules and holding to them no matter what the excuse. This was for all kinds of great reasons, but I never saw what I saw this morning. I never noticed how my rules might have isolated the children and left them feeling so many complicated feelings they may not know exactly which one is the right one. They are indeed loved and appreciated, worth something and wonderful individuals that make up a group of children that are absolutely adored. I know the teacher and librarian feel this way, the same way I felt (and even still do) about my team.

Do you have children? Do you work with children? Are you an Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Grandparent? I ask you this, what price are you asking your children to pay based on the decisons you made this morning? This afternoon? This year?

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