For Every Teacher Struggling With Wayward And Sometimes Uncontrollable Children
I often talk to teens on topics such as Self-image, Bullying, Personal Character, etc. At one of the high schools I visited, about 400 kids (Grades 8 & 9) were sitting in the hall listening to me. One boy (Gr 9) had a really bad attitude and wanted to take over. He shouted at me and made unnecessary comments – very arrogant and rude. Yet, the children applauded him for one of the worst comments he made!
I knew he was hiding behind a wall of pretenses, so I had to look deeper. While I was still talking I recognized it in him:
- a poor self-image craving recognition and attention
- and a leader who could do so much more than anyone could ever imagine
I finished my talk and I then asked him to come and see me before going back to class. He and his friends must have thought that I was going to give it to him now, but I had something else in mind…
I looked at him and my first question to him was: “Has anyone ever told you what amazing leadership abilities you have?” He was totally stunned and struggled to give me an answer – not expecting that at all! I explained to him that LEADERSHIP is INFLUENCE and that he had enough influence with his friends to get a round of applause from them! Since leadership was a natural talent for him he could decide what kind of influence he would like to have on people. He could either choose to be a good or a bad influence on his friends. If he choose to be a bad influence, he might not always have friends. But if he choose to have a good influence on others, I will probably read about his discoveries in the newspapers one day and then he’s got a great chance of becoming his school’s head boy in the not too distant future.
Staring back at me the boy started crying, gave me a back-breaking hug and said:
“No one has ever spoken to me like this before!
Thank you so much!”
I still cry when I think of that moment and I’m reminded once again that the responsibility of “teaching” is so much bigger than just giving content to kids. We are teaching PEOPLE – our country’s next generation, who in many cases are broken people!
Every naughty and unruly child needs you. Look for the good in them and tell them about it. They expect everyone to see the bad in them, so your anger will make no difference at all. Make a difference! Look for their great talents – which they undoubtedly have – and change their lives!