March 8, 2018

Benefit of Doubt

For some reason, our natural inclination as parents and teachers, might be that seventh graders are: lazy, irresponsible, easily distracted, immature, ungrateful, spoiled, addicted to screens, unkind, unthoughtful, disinterested, selfish and even mean.

And let me tell you as someone who spends a large amount of time with them, some of these traits can be true, but not any more true than it might be for people of any age.

But what if we gave them the benefit of doubt more often than we do. What if we assumed that they are open minded, insightful, empowered, engaged, and kind. What if before we began every interaction, every conversation, we let them know that we respect their thoughts and feelings, that we see them as whole human beings who deserve our love and attention? We didn’t just see them as empty vessels that need teaching or parenting, but we let them know that we understand that they are stars spreading their light too, and that we could learn from them just as much as they learn from us. What if we gave them responsibility and independence, and when they failed we didn’t bury them in disappointment and shame, but rather helped them up and let them try it again?

Earlier this week, as I sat in various classes talking to kids about the effects of social media on self-esteem and body image, or working with kids on creating a literary magazine, or just chatting with individual kids about the things that might be bothering them, I couldn’t help think about what a truly remarkable age they are.

It’s easy to be frustrated and fed up, trust me I am no stranger to the roller coaster that is grade seven, but this post is a reminder to me and their teachers, as well as you parents, to remember that these kids are changing in radical ways every single day. We must remember to engage with them in new and authentic ways. You might be surprised and amazed at what wonderful beautiful people they are. But then again you probably already know.

1 comment:

  1. "...remember to engage with them in new and authentic ways." Always remembering to first accept them for who they are, otherwise our engagement will come across as just trying to fix them, and no one wants to be fixed :)