It starts early, doesn’t it? One of the first words kids learn to say is, “No!” I love to watch the interaction between kids. Since I teach in the elementary school area, I get to see it all. Kids can be cruel, and part of it is the inborn nature to rebel. It saddens me to see how some kids have this chip on their shoulder and are constantly ready for a fight. The pent up anger has to come out one way or another.

It seems that I spend too much of my day trying to defuse ticking bombs. What can we do as educators to help defuse the situations? Well, it is complicated for one big reason, many parents are the root of the problem. It does not really surprise me to see “attitude” in the parents when it is so evident in their kids. I am not blaming all parents. I know some kids just go off the track at some point and it is primarily the company they keep that is corrupting them.

I was consoling a friend of mine the other day over her child. The kid comes from a decent family but is making all the wrong choices. The Mom was brokenhearted. I hurt for her as I saw the agony of what she was enduring. If kids only realized the pain they were inflicting, perhaps they would think before they did some of the dumb things they do.

There is a rebellious spirit that seems to be quite prevalent in the kids today. It has always been there, but now it seems to be in your face. There is no fear of consequences and no remorse for actions.

I believe we are at a tipping point with education. We have been doing things that seem right, sound right, and just don’t work. If we don’t change our course, we are going to collide with the reefs ahead. The warning signs are all around us. The sirens are blaring. The question is: Is anyone listening? Does anyone care enough to make a change?

  • Kids need role models they can respect and learn from. We can do that even when they don’t get it at home.
  • We need to take the truly dysfunctional kids out of the schools and get them the counseling they need before someone else gets killed. It takes way too long to remove a troubled kid from school. I know why the schools do it. They don’t want to get sued and they have to prove that they have given the kid every possible opportunity to change.
  • We need to pray! I realize that many people scoff at prayer, but for me it is my first line of defense and my best offense. I pray over my school every day and throughout the day.
  • We do need parents to get involved and monitor who their kids are hanging with and what they are doing on the internet. Too many parents let their kids do their own thing and strive to be their buddy instead of their parent. That does not work. Kids needs structure. They need to know the rules and understand that there are always consequences for their actions.
  • We have to change the way we teach. You can’t reach every child the same way. Everyone has a different way of learning and comes to school with their own unique background and individual issues….yet we try to homogenize them and blend them all together. The blender does not work. The truth is, it never did. We just are more aware of it now since they took discipline and prayer out of schools.

No easy fix here, but we can change the course of the ship if we don’t ignore the warning signs.


Dan Skognes

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