Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Children Don't Listen, They See

I've already written two "Why? I Don't Know" pieces and I could write another today. Why adults and children do what they do seems like a mystery when asked why and the only response is "I don't know". Sometimes it's as innocent and comical as "Why did you cover the tile floor in liquid dishwashing soap instead of washing the dishes like I asked"?

Instead of continuing with the "why's" I'd like to focus on possible answers. This takes a little out-of-the-box thinking but if you stay with me I think it will make sense in the end.

In school, knowledge is not found in books; words are found in books. In science these words are often combined to form definitions of more complex words, like vibrational, continuous and circular motion.

How these words lead to knowledge can happen in many different ways. Our responsibility as teachers is that the learner constructs true meaning and comprehension out of these words that we intend them to.

For Sarah and many others this true knowledge and intellectual wealth comes about by "seeing", in this case, what vibrational motion "is". We stretched a rubber band between two highlighters and took turns plucking the rubber band. As the rubber band vibrated she could see it in action and build a multi-sensory meaning of what it means.

As Mahrukh, Jessica, and Belle watched, they also constructed meaning and created intellectual wealth for themselves. So did Dallas and his observers as he demonstrated continuos motion for them. Mark and I did the same by collaborating on a circular motion game. Most importantly, all these students gained intellectual wealth and marketable skills to survive and thrive in the real world.

But this doesn't happen only in school. At home this is happening all the time, only they are being prepared emotionally to survive and thrive in adulthood. As parents we are responsible for teaching our children the intended meanings of our words. They hear "I love you" but construct what that means from how they see love in action. Does loving treatment follow those words or is it followed by impatience, criticicism, disrepect and phrases like "I don't have time", "Not now" or "I don't care"?

They hear "I promise" and only construct if that word has any real meaning from whether or not promises are kept.

Do they hear us tell "fibs" to others to get out of something we failed to do, don't want to do or avoid the discomfort of being honest with others? Are we unintentionally teaching them it's OK to lie, even to those we "love", as long as we think we have a good reason?

We are teaching our children all the time, more by showing them than telling them. "Do what I say, not what I do" is the unspoken motto of too many parents who have given up having high standards for themselves, yet think they are preparing their children for an emotionally healthy adulthood.

If we criticize, disrespect, break promises and lie to those we love and/or those we don't, it's likely they will too. And as they become teenagers they will probably have no problem doing all the above to us, including saying "I don't have time", "Not now" and "I don't care".

To prevent this, we need to ask ourselves if the words we are using around our children have the meaning we intend? Or are we finding ourselves having excuses as to why our actions differ from that intended meaning? Children learn more from us by what we do than what we say. We should make sure our actions "show" our children what we mean, by meaning what we say. Finding the strength and courage to do this with them means they'll find the strength and courage to do it with us, with others, and most importantly, with themselves.

It's impossible to Dream Big and if we're impatient with our growth and put ourselves down with criticicism or allowing disrepectful treatment from ourselves and others. It is impossible to Do Big when we tell ourselves "I don't have time... to pursue my dreams, be honest in this uncomfortable situation, act respectfully even though I'm angry" or "Not now, I'll do it later" and "I don't care".

Let others in your life "see" you break this cycle, and they learn to break it themselves. Don't break it, and allow them to "see" it as unbreakable. Which is it? Are you unbreakable and unstoppable in getting your dreams and holding yourself to higher standards? Or is the cycle of unhealthiness and unhappiness in your life, in your childrens' lives, in their childrens' lives....unbreakable? Whichever you believe becomes true for you.

"All that we are
arises from our thoughts.
With our thoughts
We create our world."
- Buddha ("The Awakened One")


  • At 6:01 PM , Blogger Rarlynn said...

    I see that you're still cool.

    ps;I have read everything that you've written.
    I LOVE IT ALL!!!!!!!!!!

  • At 5:01 PM , Anonymous miguel said...

    belle looks like a angel

  • At 2:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    nice pictures of belle can i call belle angel


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