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You Can’t Fix S—–

In my wife Sally’s long time job, a lot’s been taught and learned by children, mainly under the age of four. There are crafts to do, lessons in sharing toys and supplies, and restroom procedures (i.e. flush, wash, hang towel). They’re taught how to pick up after themselves. There are lessons in patience, not leaving the lunch, or snack, table until everyone is finished, and these are just a small fraction of the things taught and hoping to instill in these children at a very early stage of their lives.

One other major thing that’s stressed a lot with these children, is respect for each other. When talking to each other, there’s to be no name calling especially the often used slang “S” word kids say today. Every once in a while, I let one slip out and I’m not only reprimanded by one of these youngsters, but I’m usually reported to Sally, that I used the banned “S” word.

As you can see, I’m learning my lesson, because I’m not even using the word in this narrative, but it’s a word sometimes used as a slang adjective meaning lack of intelligence, or common sense, in certain situations.

Often times, we witness something someone does that we feel lacks intelligence or common sense, and we bark out the “S” word. Often times we hear the expression, “you can’t fix s—–.” I think that thought may not be as accurate as it sounds.

There are other situations we might be in where we witness people acting, or being, rude to someone else (sometimes to us too), often as a result of selfishness and disregard for others. (Sally allows the word rude to be used especially in her context of teaching her kids what it means to be rude, and how not to be rude to others, so I’m comfortable using it in this narrative.) Some people I’ve heard have also stated at times, that, “You can’t fix rude.” I tend to disagree with this statement as well.

If kids, at a young age, learn lessons regarding what we might think that qualifies as s—– or rude, they could also learn how they, themselves, can fix being both of these things. Unfortunately, many don’t learn those lessons early and still have trouble fixing them well into their adult lives.

But for kids to learn about these two things, someone has to take time to teach them, and also, teach the reasons why we all need to make better choices, so as not to be perceived as being s—– or rude. The lessons also need to include strategies to use to be the opposite of s—– and rude in their lives, and again, make sure those being taught these lessons know why it’s important to do it this way.

A recent discussion with one of two colleagues who were my last teaching partners prior to my retirement, included recollections of taking our students on an overnight, out-of-state trip, with two meals scheduled to be at public restaurants. One of those meals was breakfast next door to our hotel. We laughed at the memory of the looks on faces of customers in that restaurant as we marched forty plus students through the door. We let the kids sit without adult supervision, order their breakfast, and allow us adults a chance to have a grownup conversation. My teaching colleagues and I were not worried about possible misbehavior, because we set the expectation bar high, and reminded students that on the shirts they were wearing was no mention of their name, but included names of their teacher, school, city, and state, and they had no right to embarrass their teacher, school, city, or state by making a poor impression with bad behavior.

Many of the people who had distressed looks on their faces when we entered, left complementing our students for their excellent behavior. We didn’t behave for them, they did it on their own.

So when it comes to fixing s—– and rude, teach them young, set expectations high, and if done and shown by example, those perceived traits won’t need fixing, they’ll become non-existent.

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