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[ Suhm-pin ]

Posted by on in Early Childhood
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You become responsible forever for what you have tamed.


The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery


I know it is coming soon.

It's simply the natural progression of things.

But I am not looking forward to it.

As of today, November 11, 2016, my five-year old son still pronounces the word something like this

[ Suhm-pin ]

And I love it! Each time he says it I just melt. You see, it wasn't that long ago that my daughter, who is eleven, had similar words that she had her own unique way of pronouncing. Not any more. I miss them. At the same time, I am proud of the girl she is becoming. On her own. It is beautiful to watch.

But I am also reminded of the enormous responsibility we have before us. We are presented with these "eyes-wide-open" hatchlings who know nothing of what they are about to face. And it seems like just yesterday that we ourselves were in need of taming.

Or were we?

Were we that unruly?

Did we not have more to offer than just obedience?

Was the leash what we really needed?

There are times when I correct my children or students and then I wonder. Why? And am I correcting or am I taming? Yes, we have a responsibility as parents and teachers and adults, to guide children. The world is not easy to navigate. And there is much we can teach them.

But I think we are forgetting one crucial fact.

There is much they can teach us.

Until they are tamed.

And then...

Well, one of the synonyms of tame is broken. Once something becomes broken it no longer thinks for itself. It becomes dependent. Worse yet, it becomes obedient. Is that what happened a few weeks ago? Were many voters in such a state of dependence and obedience that they no longer were able to think for themselves? Have they been tamed past the point of no return?

It was as if folks were being led around on a leash. But they were okay with it because...

Were they even aware?

I don't fault them.

We let it happen.

Like a mistreated animal, they were sometimes beaten (sexually assaulted women) and other times denigrated (homophobic slurs). Yet this was okay, because their master held the leash. And he would give them a treat from time to time. He really did love them and he couldn't possibly have meant all those things he said.

And was what he said really that bad? 

Master is always right.

Master has the treats.

Master lets us out.

Master must be right.

Yes, Master must be right!

He is our master and he takes good care of us. He would never let anything or anybody hurt us. He promised.

Those that speak against the Master don't know him. They wildly run around unleashed and think they know. But they don't. We remember when we used to run around leash-less. It was...

Actually we can't remember.

Oh well.

It doesn't matter anymore now that we have Master.

My son still can't properly pronounce the word something and I freakin' love it! I am not ready to tame him just yet. In fact, I don't think if I ever will be. Because if I do, then he will no longer be able to run free. He will no longer have the ability to think for himself.

And that is [ Suhm-pin ] I am just not ready to have happen.




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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.

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