This morning while checking my email and the news, I glanced at our old hometown newspaper. There was a guest column (editorial, really) written by my old band teacher about kids these days. I have to admit that I did roll my eyes a bit at the doom and gloom. After all, I thought, I know lots and lots of great parents and wonderful kids. And, if said kids aren't behaving perfectly, as children cannot be expected to do, the parents are quick to acknowledge it, correct it, and humbly apologize.
It got me thinking. My kids aren't perfect, but they are nice. They aren't mean to each other, and especially not to anyone else. They just don't think of it. But, I am finding that the more we venture out to parks and playgrounds and the less we pick our own playdates (which we have done almost exclusively) that we will, inevitably, run into mean kids.
My heart breaks when I hear that other parents' five year olds are called "fat" and "ugly" at school, and I am dumbfounded when parents at the playground don't seem to care when their own kids are pushing, shoving and teasing.
If you read the article linked, you might get the same impression as me, that maybe it's not the kids who have changed, but the parents. When the author writes about misbehaving kids, it seems he is more inflamed with the parents' reaction to it than anything. That, while home-to-school used to be a collaboration, now one is pitted against the other.
This article made me a bit sad, honestly. Because after 35 years of teaching, the misbehavior of students has overshadowed the talents and character of other students. I can't guarantee that my children won't ever have a problem in school, but I can write definitively that the parents of the children I know are just as appalled and upset as the teachers. Except, it's their kids who are getting neglected in the classrooms, getting bullied on the bus, and being teased for simply being a kind person.
Here's to fighting the good fight!
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