if it’s your job, be professional… if you’re our parent… be our parent…

Posted: July 20, 2012 in For Educators, For Parents and Guardians
Tags: , , , , ,

but whatever you do, please, don’t try to be our friend and tell yourself that it’s in our best interest.  because it’s not in our best interest. it might be easier for you to be our friend and it might allow you to feel younger or enjoy our relationship more, but it’s definitely not in our best interest. the last thing we need you to do is act how we act.  of course we want to trust you and of course we agree that communication is important, but trust and communication with friends is very different than trust and communication with adults… and it needs to be different. we need to trust that adults will keep us safe and help us focus on developing and growing. with friends, we just need to trust that they won’t betray us and that they’ll go through stuff with us.  we need adults to be separate from our chaos and uncertainty so that they can be objective enough to help us endure the challenges of youth.

we’re kids, and we need people to guide us and teach us more than we need older people to try to relate to us on our level.  we need to know that when we mess up, the adults who care about us can care about us enough to point out our mistakes and teach us how to avoid the same mistakes in the future. friends our age don’t usually do this for us. if you’re our teacher, we need you to just be yourself and do your best.  if you’re spending time trying to get us to “like” you, then we’re not learning as much as we can. for us, it’s far more important to respect you… and you will get our respect only if you honor your jobs as role-models and educators and prepare us for our futures (though be mindful, we can be very clever in enticing you into trying to get us to like you).  we need you to establish boundaries and roles, without abusing your authority… just using it to build our skills. look, we’re not saying you have to be robotic and can’t be funny. and we’re not saying that you can’t be playful with us and enjoy your time with us… we’re just saying that before you’re more relaxed with us, make sure you’ve established your priorities and our different roles and responsibilities. make sure if you’re our parents, that we know that your priorities are to teach us, keep us safe and hold us accountable. and once you know we’re clear about the boundaries and roles, and once we’ve earned the more relaxed version of you by doing our jobs as students and children… than you can be a little cooler with us.  but until that time, please, don’t give in to our manipulative ways or your fears of our defiance… and just be the adults we need you to be, and the adults you’d like us to become.

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