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Monday, February 22, 2010

Children Learn From Our Words


I have had many excellent teachers during my school days in New Jersey. Some of them stand out in my mind as kind, and compassionate. However the little snippets of memories that stand out most in my mind are those produced by the less compassionate teachers. I remember the ridicule in front of my peers by a second grade teacher. I can remember her exact words; "Diane close your mouth, are you catching flies?" I was so traumatized I went home and told my mother, who called the school and told her off. She was the wife of a minister too. My mouth was open, because I spent my entire childhood with sinus infections, making it hard to breathe through my nose. My peers soon began making fun of my snotty nose. It is no wonder why I hated school, and missed allot of days as a child.

Teachers should realize that the way they treat their students will spill over onto how their peers will treat them. Just as parents are under the pressures of day to day living, and earning a living, teachers are only human and fall prey to those short tempered moments when a child pushes all the wrong buttons. Many times it isn't even the child who pushes the buttons that gets the fallout. It is that last raw nerve that becomes so aggravated, that one is at the mercy of complete exasperation.

However if we want to be a good memory of a future adult, then we must be diligent to curb our temperament, and make better choices in how we react in front of the children we influence today.

As a parent we tell our children we love them. We hug them when they are adorable and oh so lovable. Suddenly, they are not co-operating, creating messes, and upsetting the peace we need after a hard day. Now those children are equating love with anger, fowl or demeaning language, and sometimes physical pain. In my memory the lasting hurt came from the words that were spoke to me. My father who I know loved me, said many hurtful things, using words like fat, ugly, and sickening to me. He also hit me with a leather belt. But, the sting of the belt was nothing compared to the words.

His words lead me to search out love and approval from men who were just like him. They were either emotionally unattainable, or hurtful, demeaning alcoholics. My mother was a loving, kind person who was extremely altruistic. However, she was the wife of my father, and often tried to explain his behavior away as a necessary fatherly responsibility. She often apologized to me for his behavior, but condoned it as his inability to grasp proper fatherhood qualities because he was abandoned by his own father.

It has taken me many years of self searching to realize that I fostered a victim mentality for years, and years. I still struggle with that victim mentality. My older brother once confronted me on this issue, and I was dumbfounded, and clueless at that moment. I felt defensive, and hurt at his accusations. Once again I felt like a victim. Poor pitiful me, why do I always end up with the short end of the stick?

The wake up call came in a class facilitated by the Warren County Adult Education Program, and taught by Dr. Gwen Roquemore, entitled Taking It To The Limit. She helped me realize, "If it would be, it is up to me, if I am not for me, who would be?" Another affirmation she taught me was, "Never allow anyone to create feelings in you that are not enlightening, enhancing, or empowering."

Many, many years of my life were spent healing from the words of several of the adults who were supposedly role models in my childhood. So please weigh your words when spoken to, and in front of the children GOD placed in your life...PLEASE!

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