I'm always amazed by kids. As an elementary school counselor, I'm continuously on my toes because I never know what they are going to say or do.
And then there are those times that I'm struck speechless. Today was one of those days. I was in a 4th grade classroom, and we talked about all the toolbox tools (different strategies for personal development and growth) we have learned this year. They identified the ones that they felt were most important to emphasize next year.
The first one they chose was the empathy tool. They said it was because if we are showing care for each other then no one has to worry about being picked on or bullied. Out of all 12 tools, this is not the one I thought would be on their radar, and yet it was the first one. It made me think once again about how we need to create a caring and compassionate culture in our schools. Identifying that as their top choice showed how important they think it is and that we still have work to do.
The second choice was the garbage can tool which is basically letting things go. These students said it's hard to let things go that bother them, but they know it's important to be able to do that. Sometimes they just let it build up too much and then do or say something they know they shouldn't.
And this leads right into the third tool they mentioned, apology and forgive. When you mess up or make a mistake, it's on you to own it and apologize for it. One student aptly described it as if you've broken something and you need to mend it. You need to glue your friendship back together.
I kid you not. All of these comments were paraphrased from our conversations in this one lesson. I was absolutely blown away. As we listed those three tools, we talked about how they connected to each other.
These tools aren't just for kids either. We adults could learn so much from what these students are learning and saying. As much as I get that students need to learn the academic curriculum, it's more important to be amazing human beings:
*People who are kind and compassionate toward each other.
*People who own up to their mistakes and make amends for them.
*People who have the courage to stand up for what is right in a world full of temptation to follow a negative path.
*People who recognize their shortcomings and work to get better.
*People who take a step back and remember that before they can do for others they must take care of themselves first.
This is the kind of world I want to live in and I see pockets of it daily, but it's not enough. It needs to be the norm rather than the exception. It is my hope that with these kids, we can move in that direction.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.