I was lucky enough to spend an Open Circle session in the 5th Grade today. I shared something called “The Respectrum” with the students – a tool I used in my own classroom with 5th graders in the past. I was genuinely impressed with the responses.
Right away, a student noticed, “There’s no place in the middle between being part of the problem, and part of the solution.” It was exactly the response I was hoping for.
With all the problems in our society, one would think that in a nice little school like ours, we could easily manage our children, and avoid any social problems. It’s harder than you would think. The pressure kids put on each other to ‘not tell’, don’t play with him/her or you can’t be my friend, and “tell me who you like” is strong – even in a nice little school. These behaviors tend to start around this age. So what do we do?
Conversations like today need to take place often. The impact grown-ups have on kids is amazing. We role model all the time, whether we like it or not. Things that we accept as ‘kids being kids’ set the expectation for what they will do. It is so important, at all times, that we let them know that respectful behavior is what we expect of them, and ourselves.
Try talking to your child, especially if they are in 5th grade, about the ways we become part of the solution in life, and avoid being part of the problem. I bet you’ll be impressed by their answers!