STOPPING ANGRY CHILDREN FROM BECOMING DANGEROUS ADULTS
This blog/podcast is dedicated to the families of Uvalde who ask hourly, why?
The kindergarten children stood in a circle, ready to play a game. One child did not appear to understand but instead placed herself in the middle of the circle. This elicited whispers and giggles from the other children. The girl’s face contorted with innocent confusion upon hearing the laughter from the others. She was non-verbal, placed in a classroom in the name of “inclusion” yet at this moment, this precious child could not have felt more obscure.
The teacher tried to coax the lost student back into the circle but the little girl appeared frozen in time. Approaching this frightened child, the teacher noticed the untied sash of her dress. With a swift motion, the teacher tied the sash and stepped back into the circle. But there is always that one kid who cannot let a situation such as this go to waste. Let’s call her “Julie”. She pointed her wicked, obtuse finger and snickered at the little girl, who was unable to move. What a golden moment for Julie to exact her mischief! She confidently strolled to the center of the circle with one objective. Using all her might and with one enormous yank at the tied sash, Julie attempted to untie it, much to the amusement of the others. Only Julie did not comprehend her own strength as the sash lay on the ground, completely ripped from the dress. Now even more laughter at the expense of this child, unable to comprehend the ugliness of the moment. Julie never dreamed the sash could be ripped off, but the outcome, with the class’s approval, seemed worthy of the untimely yank.
The kindergarten teacher immediately hushed the children, stepped hurriedly toward the little girl and comforted her. Then the teacher turned to Julie, walked slowly toward her and bent down so her face was within inches of Julie’s eyes. The teacher whispered these words, with an intensity coming from deep within: That was the meanest thing I have ever seen. I can’t believe you would try to hurt this child. You should be ashamed of yourself.
The above is a true story. At his point you might ask how I knew what the teacher said. I was that horrible child “Julie.” I perpetrated the appalling act of teasing a mentally challenged child in a kindergarten classroom over 50 years ago. My eyes welled up with huge tears which prohibited me from seeing anyone’s faces. As I reflect on this moment, I share the same tears now. Convicted and overwhelmed with guilt and embarrassment, I immediately felt remorse but it was too late. The little girl cried out with a frenzy of tears. She was not to be consoled. What had I done?
Why share this story now? If my kindergarten teacher had not immediately addressed my dreadful behavior in such a dramatic way, I truly believe my future would have been destined with similar actions. If my parents hadn’t scared me with punishment for my misdeeds, I would have no reason to filter my words and curb my actions. I demonstrated mean, angry and aggressive traits, not unlike most children. My family and my “village” made it their duty to not only change my behavior but also remind me why it was important to be kind. I believe, as a four decade educator, the lack of parents and teachers to pronounce immediate consequences for misbehavior is a direct result in abusive conduct beginning with childish bullying and ending with felony homicide adults.
My writing hit a wall with the Uvalde massacre. Every night I wrestled with what I, a teacher of 46 years, could share so this would never ever happen again. After weeks of contemplation, this is what I know. In order to stop these senseless killings of our innocent children, there is no one solution. But there is one response which needs immediate implementation:
Social justice practices, put into place in some of our largest cities, have birthed a lawlessness people of my generation have never witnessed. In recent years, the criminal gained more rights than the victim. Thugs who create havoc in America’s cities, with little to no consequence of punishment, have created apathy amongst those who have the power to govern, but choose not to in the name of “social justice.”
How do we produce longterm positive results in the raising and educating of our headstrong children? It comes down to this simple rule: children must learn to take ownership of their misconduct and thereby alter their negative responses. Who are assigned to this task?
Parents: Do not allow your child to disrespect you or his siblings. Ever. Start with your toddler and provide loving, swift consequences for your child’s misbehavior. Encourage your children to experience a relationship with God. When your children enter the school system, allow and encourage their teachers and coaches to discipline inappropriate behavior.
Teachers: Classroom management is paramount to learning. You have the right and the expectation that all your students will treat you with respect. And if they don’t, your ability to hand out appropriate and consistent consequences will determine your success or lack thereof.
Administrators: Support classroom teachers in this new culture of insubordination, exhibited by both parents and students. Be the administrator kids do not want to see when they are in trouble! Be the administrator parents will not approach to complain about a teacher because they understand your loyalty to your staff.
University education departments: start teaching classroom management as a vital part of the curriculum. If your professors have not spent at least five years in the public school classroom within the past seven years, change your philosophy. Hire those who know how to navigate today’s challenging classrooms. Pedagogical knowledge cannot be imparted by any teacher who does not comprehend how to get a class to listen!
To the Uvalde families: I do not want to oversimplify implementation of any program as a cure-all. I cannot fathom the pain, sorrow and anger you are experiencing. But I believe with my heart that your beautiful children did not die in vane. It is my prayer that this tragedy of epic proportion will encourage parents and teachers of America to stop angry children from becoming dangerous adults.
Over 50 years ago, my kindergarten teacher took the time to admonish and enlighten me that my poor behavior was not ever acceptable in her classroom. I’ve had others along my education journey who corrected my world views on religion, race and ethnicity. Be that parent, teacher or administrator who fearlessly enforces decency, respect and practices the Golden Rule on a day to day basis.
I proposed the Golden Rule Project in my last podcast. Please link to the podcast and give it a listen if you haven’t. This project could be implemented in schools as early as this fall.
RESCUE THE TEACHER, SAVE THE CHILD! A fantastic book (if I say so myself!) found at Amazon/Barnes & Noble. Order your copy today. It has all FIVE STAR ratings, winning the 2020 Topshelf non-fiction book award.
REVIEW from Amazon: I liked the honesty and transparency of the author. She has a heart for teachers and students alike and is trying to help through revealing her unfortunate circumstances.
Here is a better idea: contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will help any school board or school district implement the Golden Rule Project and/or conduct a faculty book study of Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!
I really appreciate the honest temperament you have in your article, and I found your insights and ideas to prevent such horrible acts productive and in good vain. Thanks for writing!