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On a recent trip down South with my sons' sixth grade class to travel the Civil Rights' Trail, I had the opportunity to address students who are younger than I am used to presenting to. As we stood at the grave sites of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta, we spoke to the students about the sacrifices that have been made by many on all of our behalves; affording us the opportunity to say, do and create things that we could not even imagine.
One child responded, "But that was Martin Luther King. We are only sixth grade kids!"
Therein lies the problem, folks.
Thoughts like these create the space for children to absent themselves from responsibility and accountability when it comes to matters of social justice and ethical behavior in school.
As parents, we must instill into our youngsters that although they are only children, within their sphere of influence they can strike a mighty blow against cruelty. I addressed this with my 6th grade captive audience. I reminded them that every day, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, they played a role in behaviors that hurt others. Whether they were the antagonist, the ones that perpetrated the behavior against victims, or bystanders, those that saw wrongdoing and remained silent in the face of it, those behaviors caused hurt feelings, anger, and oftentimes lowered the self-esteem of the victim. What can we as parents do to help our children remember this?
Taking the time to have these crucial conversations about ethical fitness with your child can not only reinforce where your family stands, but also reinforces what your child should tolerate themselves.
Posted on May 11, 2012 by Connie K. Grier, M.Ed.
Connie Grier is an educator/ educational consultant, a parent of twin boys, and a parent advocate. She has over twenty years experience in the Philadelphia school district and is the founder of a non-profit, The RESPECT Alliance, an organization devoted to respectfully empowering parents so that positive, effective and collaborative relationships are maintained between the home and school settings. Connie is also a journalist for the Examiner Follow her on Twitter c 2012 Connie Grier. All rights reserved. Please contact for permission to reprint.
Connie Grier is an educator/ educational consultant, a parent of twin boys, and a parent advocate. She has over twenty years experience in the Philadelphia school district and is the founder of a non-profit, The RESPECT Alliance, an organization devoted to respectfully empowering parents so that positive, effective and collaborative relationships are maintained between the home and school settings. Connie is also a journalist for the Examiner Follow her on Twitter
c 2012 Connie Grier. All rights reserved. Please contact for permission to reprint.
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Tags: *Parent Engagement at Home , Building trust & respect, Bullying Prevention, Character Development, Communicating, Cooperation, Empathy, Learning environment, Parents as teachers, Social Skills
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