Before I slip away from the comfort of the couch to do that, I wanted to share some thoughts swirling in my mind on my way home from work yesterday. I don't get on a soap box very often, but here is the experience that led up to my thoughts....
As you know, I'm a speech therapist in the public schools, and yesterday I was working with three third grade students. I try to make therapy a happy place. I smile and welcome my students, and try to present fun activities, but that doesn't mean I'm a push-over. Lately I've had to post classroom rules and review them at the beginning of my sessions with some of my more unwieldy groups, something that wasn't particularly necessary in the past, because students knew to come into a classroom ready to learn. Anyway, this group of students came in -- two girls, one boy. The boy literally laid across the surface of the table -- just sprawled out there. One of the girls began combing through my box of materials I had on the end of the table, which I planned to present one by one. I calmly asked the boy to please sit in a chair. He didn't move. I gently took the box away from the girl, and said, "We'll get to those." I asked the boy to sit again. He smirked, motionless, while one girl picked up the other girl's diary she had brought with her and they began fighting over that. My welcoming attitude disappeared. I had to do the stern-teacher face and command-center voice, but I finally got the boy to sit in a chair and the girls to settle down. All of this resulted in a review and discussion of the rules -- the first of which is Respect One Another.
On the way home I realized that this is what is sorely lacking in our society today: RESPECT. Some teachers feel under appreciated and disrespected by those parents who have no problem running down a teacher in front of their children who they think "wasn't fair" on an assignment. We see disrepsect when a police officer pulls someone over and the person runs, talks back, or even pulls a weapon on them. People mock the President and other government leaders. I may not agree with everything our leaders say and do, but I respect the election process and therefore will show respect and honor to my country by not running down our President and other leaders. It's not just disrespect for "authority," though I think that's becoming a big problem in our country. As I was mulling this over on my commute, another perfect example presented itself: two lanes of traffic were merging. For the most part, the straight lane was allowing those of us on the right to enter into the line, alternating every other car -- the polite driver way. But of course someone had to kick up gravel, passing us all on the right so he could merge further up from the shoulder instead of the road. He couldn't be respectful and wait his turn. We are on the verge of becoming a nation of selfish, rude, brash individuals. So I'm on a mission -- how to gently help my students understand the value of respect in our society, with the things we say and do, implementing The Golden Rule: Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. Fortunately, for the most part, I believe the majority of people are kind to one another. We wouldn't be as productive as we are as a society if we didn't cooperate with one another. But through the years, I have picked up on these subtle differences in attitudes. We need to continue setting the example and teaching children the value of kindness and respect for others.
Now I sense a sink full of suds is calling me and a fireplace mantle is waiting to be adorned with fall colors. Enjoy your weekend!