Looking in the Mirror

mirrorAs 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.

Photo courtesy of ulalume’s Flickr Photostream

7 thoughts on “Looking in the Mirror

  1. I love this message of coming together to find commonalities rather than differences. Differences are so obvious, it seems that commonalities would be just as identifiable. When we come to the table, we must also come with a positive and collaborative spirit. We can’t model the old Do As I Say… we MUST DO, and say follow my lead.

  2. Great message, Dave! Looking in the mirror can have so many reactions. Often what we see is reflective of where we are in our own journey. As long as we are steadfast to our work and passionate for those we are surrounded by, the reflection will be welcomed.
    Wonderful work…

  3. Dave, this is great. Our kids do indeed watch us and as the saying goes, “Do as I say not as do” is often what we unintentionally convey. Thanks for the reminder to reflect and also be mindful of what I am projecting!

  4. Looking in the mirror! I have a quote that hangs on my wall that talks about the Man in the Mirror. I played college sports and we talked a lot about this. Looking in the mirror and looking at our selves is such a key piece to a kid being successful–Thanks Dave for the post!

  5. Beautiful message. I agree, kids notice what we do. That notice extends beyond the school year, so it’s important to intentionally act as you want others to remember you as. Mirrors can be a vital tool for self-examination!

  6. Mirrors are so important – I often challenge myself to reflect what I want people to say about me in a decade . . . it’s so much more than the reflection staring back at me. Thank you for the reminder to keep the message positive for all to see.

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