As an educator and father, I think it is important to remind myself of the most important lessons to impart. In times of uneasiness and fear about the direction of the world they live in, children are very vulnerable and need examples of adult guidance and comfort as they try to make sense of all that goes on around them. As this school year starts I find myself looking inward and thinking about how my actions and reactions might influence those around me. The following are thoughts I have had while “looking in the mirror”.
Our children have seen the best of us. How we react on instinct to help our neighbors. That in time of need we are willing to give our last bit of energy, our last hour, willing to give our last breath to help one another. The human spirit is capable of such amazing strength, courage, and selflessness. Heroes are real and they live among us and affect us every day. Our children watch, they remember, and they imitate us.
They have also seen the worst of us. They see how we turn our back on our neighbor because helping is inconvenient. They see how we horde what we own, envy what we do not have and attack others out of spite and physical differences. The human animal is capable of such indifference, uncaring, and outright cruelty. Our children watch, they remember, and they imitate us.
Stop. Look around you. What message are you sending? Are we doing what it takes to be that role model that can transcend the basic human needs and therefore able to personify what is best about the human spirit?
As I look in the mirror these days, I am sure that I need to resolve to be better. Whether I like it or not, as an educator I am in a position of influence and I must make sure I model what is best for my children, my family, and my school community. I know that it is easy to be the critic. To find fault and shine a light on what will not work is the easiest job in the world, for it takes no true talent. What takes talent and intelligence is to find ways to get things done, to bring people together, find common ground, procure resources, and build what did not exist before. To me, this is the most important lesson we have to give. These are the lessons I want my children and the students of my community to take to heart. Let us resolve to build, not tear down; to find solutions, not find fault; to identify common ground and work toward a common goal. We owe this to our children, to ourselves, and the people who have made it possible to live in a society where we are free to discuss such things.
Our children watch, they remember and they imitate us.