As our students move forward in life, their desire to have meaningful relationships with the opposite sex intensifies and dating becomes a real novelty. Discussions in high school, and even middle schools, are continually taking place about who is seeing whom, and who likes whom. Even people who are older and have been away from the dating seen for a while find this type of situation awkward, and at times, uncomfortable. Just take a look at two people who are in the initial stages of building a relationship. He/she seems to be the greatest. Get to know them, I mean really know them, and what they are really about. Get on the inside track, and the indecisiveness of whether or not to stay will cause such fear, that arguments will be more common than holding hands. Young daters, and by young I mean high school age ,are more prone to being harassed and intimidated in a relationship then ever before. They enter in and really don’t know how to get out. And, often when they try to get out, they are harassed with rumors and gossip flooding the school building, destroying a person’s reputation. What do people fear the most? Sadly, people fear each other, and the closer they get to someone, the more they fear them. At the high school level our students need to be taught the ins and outs of dating. But, more emphasis needs to be placed on reading someone’s motives and knowing how to make a graceful exit when necessary. Teenagers stay in abusive relationships for many reasons; low self-esteem is one of them. Teach your students that they have a choice and to stay firm when they decide to either stay in or get out. The divorce rate is already too high.
“It doesn’t mean that much to me to mean that much to you.” Neil Young sang this verse in his song “Old Man.” Significant others. We all have them, and we all have had them: those that have impacted our life in such a way that we can still hear their voice calling us long after they have passed on. My dad was very significant in my life. He was hypercritical, I always sought his approval—it was tough to get. Sometimes I just wanted to give up. I mean, what’s the use in trying? I thought, “Can’t please the old man no matter what I do.” The story is too long to tell here, but after he attended one of my baseball games and saw, I mean really saw the type of baseball player I was, he told me that he was so proud of me and hugged me. I don’t think he had a clue as to what that meant to me. I forgot all the past criticism and have hung on to those words to this day. He probably changed my life and didn’t even know it. Whether we want to believe it or not, as adults, we are significant to others right now. It’s time to realize how much we mean to our children, our spouses, and as educators, those we teach. How much does it really mean to you to mean that much to another person? It doesn’t matter what you have said or done in the past; a life can be changed with the right words at the right time. Often, we allow our past to dictate how we are going to treat others; don’t let it. The bullies and the victims of this world are crying out for significant others. Their parents may not be doing enough to fill the void in their hearts and souls. Come to terms today, and I mean right now, on what you really mean to others, and take the time to let them know how much they mean to you. If anyone would like the full story about my dad you can view the video by clicking here.
Whether or not bullying is a problem in your classroom, you should keep anecdotal records of students’ behavior. If you have students who are or who might become potential bullies, anecdotal records are even more important. If a student has more than one teacher, each teacher should keep behavioral logs, and they should be compared from time-to-time. Why is this so important? When parent meetings are conducted, a parent will usually confront the anecdotals from one teacher, but if more than one teacher has similar anecdotal records, the information presented will be viewed more legitimately by the parent. Often, a parent will view a negative one-on-one conference with a teacher subjectively and believe that the teacher is picking on his/her kid or worse yet, that the teacher really doesn’t like his/her kid. As an aside, parent meetings should always be held with more than one teacher present. If that’s not possible, an administrator or guidance counselor should be present for support. Never try to go at it alone with the parent of a student who is a bully.
Kids today can feel good about themselves for no apparent reason. No one is allowed to fail, even if they do. Everyone wins, even if they lose. Often, the truth is bent a little too much giving kids a false sense of security in their abilities and their behavior. How did I do on that test, teacher? “Not bad,” might be a response when, if the truth were really known, the kid failed. We can’t say that though, without a barrage of criticism from parents and maybe even administration. Behaviors like bullying are thrown into the gray abyss, excusing it away as if it were someone else’s fault, with a due process hearing to discipline the victim more sternly than the bully. It even transcends schools, and society has allowed this twisted behavior into the court system. It’s wrong, and you failed are phrases that must be reintroduced into our culture and our schools if we want bullying to become a “no-no” in society. We are all taught to think “win-win.” Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but IF EVERYBODY WINS, NOBODY WINS.
Trying to explain to a child, or even at times an adult, the reason “whys” or “why not’s” related to certain behaviors can at times can be frustrating (and with our own children can be frightening.). “Don’t drink and drive,” “don’t smoke,” “watch who you pick as a friend,” or “who you date” are all things that teachers and parents communicate to their students and their children. In school kids are always asking “Why do we have to do” something, or learn certain academic skills. Bullying behavior can have a lasting effect on those who experience social, emotional, or physical abuse at the hands of a bully. Why don’t kids and bullies in particular heed the warning of adults and just listen and stop saying and doing things that are just downright cruel? The reason: many of our children today were never taught to obey, so they don’t have a vision in terms of the long-range consequences for what they do and often what they say, and many times, they just don’t care. Consequences, I might add, that could affect them as an adult. Remember all we are looking for is a kid to do what he/she is told, when he/ she is told to do it. Three military men were walking across the huge flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Suddenly, a commanding officer yelled out to them, “drop!” Two of the men immediately fell on the deck. The third man turned around to see what was happening and was instantly killed by an incoming airplane. All three men heard the same word; however, only two of them understood what they heard and obeyed the command. Recognizing and immediately obeying the voice of the commanding officer proved to be a matter of life and death for these men. Help your students understand that there does not have to be a reason right now why they have to do what they are told. Hopefully the bully will change before his life is affected, or worse yet, the life of someone else.
Independent people know how to do things on their own, and interdependent people know how to do things with the help of other people. Emotion-ally mature people know how to do both. They can function on their own but still understand that other people can be used as resources to help them solve some of life’s problems.
Parents are always concerned about sending their children off to live on their own. They start to worry around the time that their children get ready to go off to college. The biggest reason for the concern is because, in the parent’s’ minds, they feel that they didn’t teach their children enough to survive independent of them. The parents may have the desire to speak frequently on the phone with their children questioning them about their activities, their grades, who they’re hanging around with and even if they’re doing their school work.
This constant questioning is directly related to the parents’ uneasy feelings that they have about their children living away from home. This constant questioning will often be interpreted by the children as meddling and can even put a strain on their relationship with their parents. They may become so annoyed by their parents that they dread any conversation, and when they do talk to their parents it is only out of a basic obligation they believe they have.
Emotionally mature people understand the power of a positive relationship with their parents. People who are emotionally mature realize that they were once dependent on their parents for their care and for their needs. They want to become independent of their parents when they are teenagers and may end up in a few battles with their parents in their efforts to achieve a certain amount of independence. When they move into their late teens and early twenties, they realize that their parents are a powerful resource in their lives and that they still need their parents’ help to manage their lives as young adults. They talk to their parents frequently, ask their advice and work to involve them with the raising of their children. Emotionally mature people realize that the relationship that they have with their parents is really the first and probably the most important interdependent relationship that they will have in their lives.
In reality, the quality of the relationship that a person has with his or her parents will affect the quality of every other relationship that he or she will have in the future. In my case, I always had a problem dealing with my mother and couldn’t wait to get married so I could move out of my house to get away from her.
I was married when I was twenty four years old. I left my home and discovered that I was physically free and living an independent life on my own. The problem was that I wasn’t free emotionally. The inability on my part to form an interdependent relationship with my mother (my father had already passed away) left me riddled with guilt. That guilt affected every other relationship in my life. I never felt the freedom to ask my mother for help with anything, financial or otherwise. This attitude of mine of needing to do everything on my own and not needing people, including my mother, was not the very best for me.
In order to operate independently and interdependently, it is absolutely necessary to develop a positive relationship with our parent’s. Our parents should be our first and our best resource to help us understand how to work in an interdependent relationship. There are about seven billion people on the planet so the chances are really good that we will all be around people for the rest of our life. Some of these people will have personalities similar to our parents.
In order to work with others, a person has to learn how to work with the first two people in their life, their parents. There is no denying that our relationship with our parents is the first and most important interdependent relationship that a person will ever have.