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America: We Have a Problem

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Problem 1

 

Disrespect for our fellow human beings is abominable.

But, as a nation, we have allowed it to be so.  We’ve encouraged it through our politics, through our entertainment, and through our everyday interactions.

Ask any educator about the rise in hatred and outright disregard for adults, and you will need to set aside a few hours from your busy schedule, to hear all the details. 

We have allowed kids to “speak their mind” without first thinking of the impact their words may have. 

Students are allowed to posture inches away from a teacher’s face and threaten bodily harm.

Students are allowed to shout profanities at the teachers who are calling upon them in class to attend to their lessons.

Students are allowed to call their teachers names, invoke racial and other epitaphs, and simply respond to teachers with an emphatic “NO!” or worse, with silence and angry stares.

Teachers are asked to take on a lot of extraneous duties.  They do so much more than teach readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic.  Today, they serve as impromptu peacemakers and behavior management deputies.

Teachers are asked to contact parents for help in reining in uncontrollable children.  Administrators are charged with the responsibility to coach parents in appropriate parenting techniques.

All of that is a bit difficult when you have the parent on the phone who says:

“My child never has this problem at home.”

“What about the other kids?”

“That teacher just doesn’t like my kid.”

“That teacher is being mean.”

“That teacher is being racist.”

“That teacher is old (or young or white or black or Jewish or Filipino or…”

“My kid is your responsibility during the day.  I WORK.”

“What exactly do you want ME to do?”

America:  We have a problem.  Our kids are out of control.  In recent years, we have taught our children that it is important for them to stand up for what they believe.  Somehow, that message became maligned to include the standing on top of and trampling the beliefs of others.

We are the adults.  We should not be out of control too.  We should be setting aside our pent-up anger at the outside world and start dealing with the youngsters within our inside world – our own homes.

We need to teach our kids that it is okay to disagree without being offensive, without be combative, without being ignorant.

We need to teach our kids to think before they open their mouths and before they impulsively act.

Perhaps we, as adults, need to teach ourselves that lesson as well. 

 

Copyright, Tim Ramsey, 2019.

 

 

 

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Tim Ramsey has been an educator since 1983.  He taught middle school and high school for 15 years and served as a school administrator for 15 years before retiring in 2013.  He returned to the classroom where he now teaches writing to seventh graders by day and reading to college freshmen by night.  Tim is an avid writer and has been featured in six Chicken Soup for the Soul compilations.  In addition he has received several first place honors from the Arizona English Teachers Association for its annual “Teachers as Writers Contest.”

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Guest Monday, 24 June 2019