Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thought of the Month

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A part of me wanted to blog tonight, but another other part wanted to finish the standards test and the class newsletter for tomorrow so that I am prepared. As a result of this, I am going to post the “thought of the month” I do for my class. After all, I did spend time writing it, right?

When I was about ten or eleven years old I did something that I shouldn’t have. What’s more, I lied to my parents about it too. When my dad found out he told me, “We’re your parents and we love you. We will always love you, but we don’t have to trust you…trust has to be earned and right now, you’ve lost that trust.” I can still remember the disappointment on my dad’s face and realizing that I had let him down. I hated that feeling. I felt like my dad would never believe in me again and it felt awful—it was like a million snakes were all coiling around in my stomach.

I never thought that I could feel a worse feeling than on that day, that is, until I became a schoolteacher. I’ve been working with kids for a many years now and my experiences with my students are some of my greatest joys and worst sorrows; my students have made me laugh, think, and even cry sometimes. Every student that has walked through my classroom door at the start of the school year has always been given my full trust; I believe in them, no matter what I’ve heard from others about them. We talk about new beginnings the first day of school and growing and blossoming into something maybe better than they already are. We talk about becoming the people we want to be. Yet, even with this, I have had students who have chosen to violate that trust. Some do it in the form of stealing from me or other students, cheating on homework or tests, or just flat-out lying. This hurts the student, but it also hurts me too.

I never realized just how much my actions as a ten year-old affected my dad until I became a grown-up and had students to teach. It seems that every year I have at least one or two students who take the trust that I’ve freely given to them and throw it away, like a worn-out scrap of paper. When I have students who are dishonest with me I feel awful inside. I want to trust them, I want to believe them, but when they take what I’ve given to them and violate it, that trust is gone and who knows when this can be earned back.

So what can a student do who has been dishonest in the past? One who has lost the confidence of those around them? Well, the answer is simple. Stop. Stop what it is that you’re doing, make a course change, and do what you KNOW is right from this time forward. I shudder to think what direction my life could have gone if I hadn’t had people in my growing up who loved me enough to correct me when I was making mistakes or pursuing choices that led to bumpy roads.

I recently called my dad about this and thanked him; I thanked him for how strict he was with me and how he made me earn his trust back. I’ve done much better in my life since that time and when I remember back to when I was a ten year-old boy, I am grateful for someone in my life who didn’t let me get away with something that simply wasn’t right. I am grateful for my dad who taught me through a very hard lesson to always be the kind of person that people can depend on and believe in, no matter what.


K.J. said...

This story really hit home!
I can see the trust issue from both sides. Mine and my childrens. Most kids know how important trust is, but when they lose it...everything changes.
Some want to earn it back and some hold a grudge for a while.
Kids put their trust in us as a parent, teacher, or adult...etc They count on us and look up to us. I don't ever want to lose their trust, and worry that some of the deccions I have to make, might do that, or make them question their trust in me.
Trust really is a BIG thing!

Teachinfourth said...

"I've looked at clouds from both sides now..."

It is important to be able to see things from another's point of view, isn't it?

Julie said...

How true this is. :)

mywest said...

March 13th post follow-up....A little late but after all I just got connected. I remember this day and its good that some of the things said made a good impression. Now 50 years later you still have my trust. Your a wonderful man who needs a good companion. Choose your adventure but choose wisely.... great line.
Love, Dad

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