I want people to like and respect me, but if I have to choose between the two, I will choose respect. Why? People that don’t like you will disregard what you think, how you feel, and what you do. If they dislike you but respect you, you will be heard at the very least.
This week a great drama played out in two of our classes. We had to pull about 10 kids from the two classes because of their arguments and disruptive behavior with each other.
I told them they had two choices: Either they learn some self-control, or somebody else was going to control them! I also told them I did not care if they liked each other, but they WOULD respect one another….and the respect would begin now.
Even as I was talking to them, one of the kids continued to argue with me! I asked the child five times to quit arguing and just chill out for a moment, but this kid had no filter and no common sense. Sadly, the consequences for this child in particular will be more than bargained for.
There is a lot of pent up rage in some of the kids I see. It seems they are determined to take it out on somebody….anybody within earshot. While I try to make every child feel heard and respected, I can’t allow them to run over everyone around them. I don’t know what is going on at home, but I have a feeling that it is quite dysfunctional.
I pray every day that God give me the right words to say, but I admit that some days I am at a loss for words. I know I make a positive difference in the lives of the kids, but days like this will make the best of us question whether what we are doing is making a difference.
I have to remind myself that there are some kids that I can’t reach despite my best efforts. That doesn’t mean I won’t try or that I will ever give up on them. If I can get them to understand that one thing alone, there is still hope for their behavior to change. If I can see good in them, perhaps they will see it at some point in themselves. Once they learn to respect themselves, they can begin the journey to respect others.