Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Repeating Myself: What Does It Matter?

I repeat myself simply an uncountable amount of times each day. What do I repeat? Probably the same things moms have been repeating since the start of moms and babies.
  • Say "please."
  • Don't push.
  • Pick up your mess.
  • Use your spoon, not your fingers.
  • Don't wipe your mouth on your shirt.
Don't put excess of 100 stickers on your arm. They will end up on the carpet.

And I am massively aware that repeating negative comments is less productive than repeating positive ones. I repeat those too.
  • Thanks for throwing the trash away.
  • I like it when you share with your sister.
  • You picked up all your toys!
  • I am proud how you behaved in the restaurant.
  • It is nice to play a game with you!

These life instructions are more than corrections or reinforcements, they are an example of how to treat other people. When I teach outside the home (I do still teach, just way less now) and I hear a student say to another, "Why did you do that? That is dumb," (or worse, way worse) I can't help but wonder if that is the example they overwhelmingly grew up hearing. I want to believe they grew up hearing it even though that is incredibly sad. The alternative is even sadder: they just speak like that, even though that was not their life example. As a parent, I cannot imagine that last scenario. It is too scary.

I know research is on my side. "Be a role model" and "set a positive example" are mantras repeated in college education courses.

So I keep plugging ahead, speaking positively, nicely trying to set a good example, even though I fear it is for naught.