Saturday, November 1, 2014

Raising Citizens

After talking with one of the wee folk this past week, I sent an email to members of staff directly involved in the topic of the discussion:

"I had a conversation with one of the wee folk yesterday. It all began with, "Mrs. Miller, my brother told me there's this new dumb rule about not climbing on top of the monkey bars."
I explained that rules may seem dumb, but they're usually made after too many people get hurt. He understood and even came up with his own examples {of changed rules}, but I was wondering if it would help the students respect the rule if they're told why."

I received a reply telling me that the leadership committee would be meeting soon and my concern would be put up for discussion. Exactly the kind of response that keeps citizens engaged in their community.

A second email was received from a friend and playground duty aide. She respectfully told me that her opinion differed. She's more of a "do this because I say so" person, and because she's loving and respectful, the majority of the children heed her directions. But even with respect and love, I don't believe it's possible to create citizens in an authoritarian environment.

Ever since I had a HS principal in the 70's, who involved the entire student body with any rule disputes or changes via a special whole school assembly (for questions and discussions), I've believed that's how we raise citizens. Engaging children in the decision making process or having group discussions about decisions already made, are part of that process. Every single one of us has a different status in our community/society. It's a fact. And also why a healthy society runs smoothly. Otherwise we'd have chaos. But every status should have a level of involvement and the input from that involvement should be listened to, discussed and respected.

(If only I could remember all I wrote in my head on this subject in the shower. Perhaps I should record those thoughts . . . at the risk of being just as disappointed in the results.)

Another blogger speaks more eloquently on this subject here