Thursday, October 31, 2013
Disrespect. What Are We All Teaching Our Children?
Rampant. Pervasive. Epidemic. A malignancy. Disrespect, it surely seems, is the MO of today, and its insidious presence in classrooms, in locker rooms, in homes, and in most every interpersonal interaction among all ages, is tragic, immature, and growing. Its obnoxious presence dominates every setting in which it is allowed. Disrespect is the new neighborhood bully whose unrelenting selfishness very meanly distracts and destroys the direction of a gentle soul. Just today, I read of another broken-hearted teacher throwing in the towel on education because of the uncontrollable rudeness of students. Students are not the sole possessors of a disrespectful demeanor, however, for disappointingly, we adults all around them are flagrantly modeling this distasteful and atrocious behavior as well. Shouting at refs, demanding rule changes to suit personal circumstances, brazenly and constantly talking back, rolling the eyes, sarcastic remarks, an above the law attitude, an excuse for every act of non-compliance, a sneer to meet genuineness and humility, a spirit of laughing at, an unasked for opinion to make all decisions the matter of a personal committee, a loud dogmatic voice that hears only itself; all of these and countless more are mere symptoms of a deeper malady; an inner discontentedness, a distrust, an over-inflated ego due to a desperately diminished self-esteem, a cry to be noticed or heard. Disrespect will not go away if it is ignored, because somewhere deeply imbedded in disrespect’s DNA it’s itching to fight and will not stand down until it is challenged and put in its place. It resembles an alpha dog syndrome, where the leader is unmistakably identified and leads, despite efforts of wannabes to assume the lead. Disrespect simply cannot be allowed, for everything about it smacks of a breakdown of order and fully impedes accomplishment. When we speak of being committed to student learning, we would be remiss to avoid addressing and nipping the culture of disrespect which will most assuredly undermine even the best of best practices. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Gentleness. Self-control. A display of manners. Selflessness. Generosity. Graciousness. Humility. Can these be taught? Our students truly need to learn them. Demonstrating these attributes will boost students’ self-esteem and success and radically enhance accomplishment in the classroom, on the field, and in life. Don’t we desire this for them? Respect must be expected and demanded. Trust must be earned.