Thursday, October 6, 2011

Even When You Think They're Not, They're Listening

October 6, 2011

I often hear people say that today's kids are rude. They lack manners. They don't respect authority. They're self-centered and can only see as far as their own mirrors. Are there some of those kids? Of course there are. There are most certainly adults who fit those descriptors as well. But I believe there's a whole lot more good in kids--in human beings in general--than some people are willing to acknowledge. The kids I work with and have the privilege of spending my days with are kind and generous and thoughtful and funny and smart and caring. They have their moments of less-than-stellar behavior, less than benevolent moments--as we all do. They're human, of course. But the minute I give up recognizing what's best in these kids is the day I walk away from teaching.

And they're listening. Moment-to-moment, just like adults, they're practicing what they've been taught, what they learn. And practice implies fallibility. Sometimes they fall, but they know the lesson. They're listening. I asked my seniors recently to write about one of the most important life lessons they've learned so far. Here are just some of their responses.

Never give up.

Take pride in what you do.

Life goes on.

Don't lie.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Live life to the fullest.

Be yourself.

Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something.

Don't procrastinate.

Stay true to what you believe in.

Always do your best.

Appreciate what you have when you have it.

Be careful who you trust.

Be independent.

Don't hate anyone--it takes too much energy.

It's okay to not be okay.

Happiness is when what you say, what you do, and what you think are in harmony.

Don't succumb to peer pressure.

Attitude can change your performance.

Pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever.

Always earn it; never take it.

You have to do what you have to do in order to do what you want to do.

Respect your elders.

Forgive and forget.

Family first.

Stay close with your friends.

Expect the unexpected.

Don't complain, because you always have a choice.

They're listening. They hear what their parents, their families are showing them. If the kids I know are our future, I think we're in pretty good hands.


  1. What a great post! It's so true too. We, as adults, need to keep setting good examples and our expectations high. Sometimes we forget this.