From the Principal’s Desk – 02 August, 2018 – Values
Growing up as a child in the 70s and 80s, some of the most commonly used phrases my dad would love to use was “because I said so” or “do as I say and not as I do”. It was a different time where often children were meant to be “seen and not heard” and parents and teachers were the ultimate authority figures that were never to be challenged.
Fast forward some 30 odd years and boy how times have changed. We ask our children to question the world, seeking answers and explanations. We push them to be inquirers and to challenge the world around them, not settling for second best or a weak explanation. We ask them to be open-minded and risk takers. All and all we have made some excellent progress with regards how we are educating our children for the 21st century. However, along with this type of education, we often see children not fully understanding where the lines between familiarity or unfamiliarity, respect or disrespect, and responsibility or the lack thereof, exist.
There is a vast difference between a child wanting to understand how the world was made versus demanding an explanation from their parents as to why they cannot go to a party. It is good to engage with a child on a range of topics but at some point if the answer is no then it is no. The role of any parent, teacher or authority figure is one of mentorship, guidance, and guardianship – it is our job to steer our children in the right direction, to develop and help them understand where those fine lines exist.
It is awesome to teach them to think for themselves and to question the world around them, it is equally important to teach them the difference between the relationships that are either a friend, parent or teacher, or how to discern how certain behaviours or ways in which you talk to someone can be either disrespectful or respectful. And of course, how understanding those differences will allow a child to learn what it means to take responsibility for their actions, be they positive or negative.
Just because we ask our students to learn in a different manner and adapt to a rapidly changing world, does not mean that we should allow the classic and timeless aspects of respect, and common decency slip away. No matter how we change or adapt, these values should never go out of style.