Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sticking to a memory

In my not-so-many years of teaching, one thing a mentor teacher said stuck with me: kids sometimes don't remember what you teach them, but the memory of how they felt, they will take with them.  Even though I lost touch with her over the years, whenever a situation arises that I can decide to have the child remember something about the way I make them feel, I use that to my advantage.  This philosophy is sometimes tricky to stick to, especially at the middle school level.  Their brains seem wired to 'test' authority figures.  How does "tough love" translate into a memory?

One thing my mom used to do when we were younger also stuck.  When she would get mad (rightfully so) at us for something we did wrong, the next memory she would give would be a happy one, whether a softer-toned conversation, a favorite food, an outing, or something of the sort.

At home, the boys are becoming more rambunctious: wrestling, WWE, play-fighting, karate-kicking, etc. These boys' imaginations are growing more and more into the likes of "Street Fighter,"ninjas, toy swords and guns, etc.  While I know this may be 'normal,' I feel like their innocent play is fading.  Conversations are about not hurting people, even in pretend.  These goofy kids are not malicious, but the characters who they're pretending to be may be.
trying to act hard in his own 'selfie'
playing at gramma's house

When they cross a line, counting down and time-outs are routine.  Sometimes our patience wears thin, but the above beliefs comes back to me.  We try to make the distinction between reality and pretend clear, but are their brains ready for that?  And with their growing awareness of "punishment vs. obedience," are they ready to use what we've been teaching them?

Whatever 'punishments' we decide to use, we hope they'll realize that we want them to remember the lesson, and not carry with them the memory of their immediate reaction.  I just want to bottle up this sweet simplicity and bury "boys will be boys."