SHE RESPECTED THE BOY AND PROBABLY CHANGED HIS LIFE

 

What Are You Doing With Your Life?
When a teenager tries to break into her home, Joey Garcia asks him an unexpected question.

By Joey Garcia

I was at my laptop working on a poem when I realized that late afternoon had darkened into evening. I should probably close the windows in the front of the house, I thought.

The early evening light was dim but when I walked into the kitchen, I could clearly see the young man straddling the windowsill, breaking into my home.

He was a teenager, 17 or 18 years old. I felt strangely calm, probably because of my two decades as a high school teacher and life coach for teens. So it didn’t surprise me when a sincere question came into my mind:

“What are you doing with your life?”

He froze. I asked again, louder this time, my hands flapping emphatically: “What are you doing with your life?”

Watching me carefully for a moment, he seemed to ponder the question. Then he began to back out of the window.

I told him I would count to three and yell for help.

The young man ran. With shaky hands, I closed and locked my windows, careful not to touch the one he had entered, or the screen he had removed to break in. Evidence, I thought.

When the police officer arrived, he asked me what happened. When I explained, he asked if I knew the young man. “No” I said. The officer narrowed his eyes. “Then why did you ask, ‘What are you doing with your life?'”

I don’t remember what I told him. But the truth is, I feel responsible for all kids. Every child is my child. I believe that every adult is responsible for guiding teens to maturity. We must all help every teenager we meet to navigate a path into a rewarding life.

Looking back, I think I understand why the young man ran away. To be asked, “What are you doing with your life?” is to be acknowledged as if you matter, are loved and are valued.

In the end, I committed the bolder theft. He tried to break into my house, but I tried to break into his consciousness.

With a Perspective, I’m Joey Garcia.

Joey Garcia is an advice columnist in Sacramento

http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201512290643

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year from Resetting Respect, with a suggestion that resetting your respect attitude just might be the perfect New Year’s resolution, as it’s got all other positive resolutions covered!  Resolving to lose weight, or eat more veggies, or walk more miles? That’s self respect.  Resolving to spend more time with your kids, have real conversations with your partner, take your dog on more of those walks?  That’s respect for your family. Resolving to recycle more of your trash, compost your garbage, waste less water?  That’s respect for the environment.

When you decide to reset your respect attitude and acknowledge the value in everyone and everything, you reset the way you live your life.  And that’s to your benefit, the benefit of everyone else, and the benefit of this world we all share.

Why not give it a try?  It really will lower your stress level and just might save the world!

THE ATTRIBUTE FROM WHICH ALL OTHERS FLOW

 Although respect is both a verb and a noun, I like to think of it as something I need to do.  And, as I believe that respect is acknowledging a person or thing’s value and accepting responsibility for helping maintain that value, then all the other attributes on the list below will result from or be a part of the respect that is given.  Think about it.  Manners like “please” and “thank you,” or holding the door for another, are small behaviors that promote civil behavior and make recipients feel valued.  All those common-sense wisdoms we’ve learned, like “a penny saved is a penny earned” and  “waste not, want not,” ultimately have to do with taking care of the value of a person or an item.  “Haste makes waste” acknowledges the need for patience.  And I fervently believe that love frequently follows respect, especially when a person is hard to love. When I discover what a person is good at, what they know that is useful or interesting, the good that they do that I never would have guessed, and then I invest in helping them maintain that value, love for that person almost always follows, often much to my surprise.

WAYS TO RESPECT YOUR STUDENTS

Students need respect, too!  The following list from Resetting Respect offers some suggestions for all those who work with students.

 unnamedWays to Respect Your Students

1) Listen carefully to each student.

2) Give appropriate and helpful feedback.

3) Be clear about and give frequent reminders of expectations.

4) Be clear, fair and consistent about consequences.

5) Don’t compare students to their siblings or make frequent references to them.

6) Recognize the attention spans and activity levels of your students and design the day accordingly.

7) Avoid demeaning or humiliating any student either in front of the class or in one-on-one situations.

8) Avoid using sarcasm with students. They frequently won’t understand it and will be further confused by it.

9) Allow students to participate in establishing classroom guidelines.

10) Find out what the students want to learn, and incorporate as much of that as possible into the curriculum.

11) Present new material a variety of ways that address different learning styles, providing an opportunity for all students to learn the new content.

12) Create an atmosphere that encourages the students to share their problems and concerns with you, and then strategize with the students to address those issues.

 

Note to Communities, School Administrations and School Boards: For students to feel respected and to understand that you consider their education valuable and important, as well as for them to be able to learn, schools themselves must be safe, clean, and in good repair.

WAYS TO RESPECT YOUR TEACHER

In honor of the new school year, here is an excerpt from my book, Resetting Respect, that offers some things for students of all ages to think about.images

Ways to Respect Your Teacher

1) Try to give the teacher your full attention.

2) Follow the classroom rules and guidelines.

3) Use good manners with your teacher.

4) Do your best to get to school and class on time.

5) Let your teacher know if you don’t understand something or have a concern or a problem.

6) Keep your hands to yourself in the classroom and on the playground.

7) Try not to disturb the other students.

8) Do the assigned work to the best of your ability and on time.

9) Participate enthusiastically in classroom activities.

10) Offer to help the teacher when you notice something that needs doing.

 

Note to Parents: For a classroom to be successful, teachers need to respect the students and students need to respect the teachers. Therefore it is imperative that you model respect for teachers at home. If your kids think you don’t respect their teachers, it is likely they won’t respect their teachers either.

HALLOWEEN ADVICE FOR EVERY DAY

I was wandering through Facebook this morning, when I came across a friend’s “share” of a photo that offers some excellent Halloween advice.  It goes like this:

“With Halloween upon us, please keep in mind, a lot of little people will be visiting your home.  Be accepting.  The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy may have poor fine motor skills.  The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy may have motor planning issues.  The child who does not say trick or treat or thank you may be non-verbal.  The child who looks disappointed when they see your bowl might have an allergy.  The child who isn’t wearing a costume at all might have a sensory issue (SPD) or autism.  Be nice.  Be patient.  Its [sic] everyone’s Halloween:)” (http://www.shutupabout.com/)

As I see it, it’s all about respect.  We all need to respect those around us, on Halloween and every day, children and adults alike, for who they are.  And we need to support them as they work with whatever issues or baggage they’re dealing with rather than slamming them for not already being perfect.  We’re all works in progress, just at different stages.