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Are We Any Different?

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They had been sent to me for pushing and shoving one another. Nothing major, but enough that they couldn't remain in the classroom. I had them sit down on the couch and I took a few minutes to decide how I wanted to handle this. It had been a busy day and I was frustrated that these young men couldn't just get long.

So I gave them a choice.

Sort of.

I told them that they were either going to be sent home or they could take the blocks and Legos and build me something nice. And I emphasized the word nice. I'm not really sure why. There was only so much that they could create with the limited number of materials I gave them to work with. What they created in just a short amount of time was quite impressive.

This often perplexes me. Children who have just been involved in a fight, sometimes quite a physical one, can sit directly next to each other. No problems at all. In fact, they often are laughing and smiling within just a few minutes. That's exactly what happened with the two aforementioned students. They actually asked me if they come back and do it more often.

So what gives? How can children be fighting one minute and best buddies the next?



Isn't that we see everyday with adults when it comes to politics?

Think about it. Roughly half of the country claims they are for one party and half of the country claims they are for the other. And it's not as if we don't interact with each other. We all have friends, coworkers and family members that are members of different political parties. And we get along quite well. Until there is an audience. And the topic becomes politics.

Is this the equivalent of little kids talking about each other's Mamas?

I just don't see where we are any different than the children. In fact, I think oftentimes we are worse. Kids at least are able to regroup and remain civil. Heck they can even create something together once they are alone. Could we?

I have never heard so much hate and I have never seen so much division as I have during this current election campaign. Don't we get it? The kids our watching. How can we tell them to use kind words and stop hitting each other when all they have to do is turn on the tv to see adults behaving much worse?

What's the answer?

I don't know.

Maybe we just need some blocks, some Legos and an ultimatum.

Or maybe we just need to be sent home until we learn how to behave.


Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.


Albert Schweitzer






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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

  • Guest
    Karen Saturday, 22 October 2016

    Great blog, Jon. I couldn't agree more. Kids hold the key. We need to learn from them and get back to basics. Well done!

  • Guest
    Jonathon Wennstrom Sunday, 23 October 2016


    I've often felt the same thing that we (adults) need to learn how to behave sometimes from our students. Your example was perfect. I've often had students in my office for fighting and they are joking with one another before I even start talking. Yes, we can learn from their example!

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