Sunday, October 02, 2011

tough love

Alternate title: the honeymoon is over.

Back to school is a time of goals, spoken and unspoken. I can tell that quite a few sunshines set a few for themselves this fall, even if they didn't jump up and down telling me. Some of them are meeting with some success... but some are very much not.

You know how this goes-- you make your New Year's Resolutions every January, and by Groundhog Day, they're out the window. It is hard to change habits. And when you want to change something that you really enjoy doing (like eating dessert or drinking soda or hitting the snooze button) it's really, really hard. You need help, support, and someone to help hold you accountable. In our BtS resolutions, I get to be that person.

One of the things I think I'm pretty good at is separating the sunny from the decision. We all make bad choices, but that does not mean we're bad people, and it's no different for kids. When one of them skips school, for example, and is seen at the homecoming parade, I don't take it personally. But I do stop the van, roll down the window, and call him on it. It's not because I want to make anyone feel bad, but because I want them to know that I want them at school. I want them to learn from this and to make a different choice the next time. I want them to believe that I care, and that my actions match my words. Come to school so I can help you graduate-- and I'm not even kidding when I say I want you here.

There are a few of them teetering on this long term gain/short term gratification fence, for different reasons. The good news is I think they know I really do want them around. I think they also believe that I hold them to a high standard of behavior because I not only believe that they can achieve it, but also because it's what is best for them long term. And I hope they also know that if they decide they just can't do it right now, that they'll still be a sunshine, and I'll still look out for them just as much as if they were in my classroom. I guess I'm sort of like the Hotel California: you can check in any time you'd like, but you can never really leave :)

1 comment:

Katie said...

Great parting sentence!