Sometimes we forget the easy influence we have in the lives of those around us. Or maybe we are not even aware of our influence. We live in a world with a lot of critical and hate speech all around us. Some of us even may make a practice of laughing at others when they are not laughing with us.
We hear talk of sensitivity training, and how many of our students are too coddled, much too aware of their feelings these days. They need to “suck it up” or “get a thicker skin”. I’ve even said it myself. But what about the student who is really just trying to survive a hostile home environment or even having no home at all?
Is it possible for us as Educators to use our safe space to advocate for those who can’t do it for themselves? Acknowledgment of others who are not in a good place gives us the opportunity to pay it forward. Maybe it means bringing breakfast snacks for students who you know are probably hungry, sending them home with snacks, or allowing them to visit the clothes closet when they have to wear soiled clothes to school. When you shine your light on others, they start to reflect it themselves. The practice of gratitude is a journey.
Words and tone mean things. When you talk down to a student, remember you also had the chance to build her up. The choices we make, and the thoughts we think and say out loud directly affect the quality of our own lives as well as those around us. Be grateful for what you have and pay it forward to others.