Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Give 'Em a Break

Today driving along on the interstate, I became frustrated with the driver in front of me. He wasn't doing anything wrong, just not doing things the way I wanted.

As I thought about that driver and my reaction to it, this thought surfaced: "You don't know what he is dealing with." I pondered that. That driver may be having a bad day or dealing with some serious issues. I didn't know what was going on in his life. And, if I did, I would probably treat him differently, or at least feel differently about the situation. (My reflective nature strikes again.)

As I continued to think about this, the image of one of the kids in my class popped into my head. I just learned something about her. She daily is dealing with something that I was unaware of. And that set me to thinking about relationships between teachers and kids.

Often I hear teachers talking about kids...the kids that frustrate them. I do that, too. But I don't know what that child is dealing with in his life. Maybe things are unsettled at home. Maybe he has an unseen or undiagnosed disorder. Or maybe he didn't get enough sleep. Or maybe his older brother or younger sister upset him. Or whatever. Sometimes I need to relax and try to assess the situation. What can I do to make things more smooth? Or maybe I just need to relax and let some things go. Yes, I need to deal with behavior that is destructive or persistent. But sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and go with the flow.


  1. Scott, this is so true, so utterly & completely true to the depths of your experience. I'm certain that when my brain is maxed-out, I can offer frustration to fellow drivers by not giving the wheel my complete focus.

    More significant is how we interact with children over the long-haul. Keeping their perspective and always giving the benefit of the doubt will allow them to observe our empathy & in turn demonstrate for them how to care for others.


  2. When I worked for a faith-based non-profit, the leader used to say to us, "When a kid is acting crazy, all that you can say definitively is that he or she is having a bad day. You don't know the whole story. You may never completely know the whole story. But you know that regardless of how rough it is for you, that child is having a really bad day."

    My best days are the ones where I remember that.

  3. Thank you for the insight.That is an excellent perspective to have.

  4. I love this! My first thought when I met my kiddos is to find out what they are about. Get to know them and allow them to get to know me. This means knowing about their family and how life runs for them. This gives me great information on my kiddos and what they need. When I see a child acting out I always wonder, what does this signal mean? Because most of the time it means something, even if it's simply "I'm tired", or "I"m hungry".