I’m expected to teach them about respect. To explain they don’t have to be everyone’s friend, but they must be respectful and kind and treat others the way they want to be treated. Bullying others is not ok and they must stand up for each other and what they believe in.
I’m expected to teach them about responsibility. To help them see they must sometimes do the hard stuff before they can do the fun stuff and that people count on them to do their jobs.
I’m expected to teach them to be thankful. To be thankful for this country, for our school, for the people who give them the privilege to lead the life they lead. And to do more than feel thankful…to speak of and show their gratitude.
I’m expected to teach them to be caring. To think of others before they think of themselves sometimes and that relationships are as important as being “right”. Giving is more rewarding than receiving and doing things for others is the cornerstone of a kind world and kind heart.
I’m expected to teach them to persevere. To work hard and never give up. If you try hard enough, you will be able to accomplish anything. To take small steps towards a larger purpose and to keep moving forward.
I’m expected to teach them to be trustworthy. To understand the importance of keeping their promises and sticking to their word. They must not lie, cheat, or steal. Trust is something very sacred and once it is lost, it’s almost impossible to get back.
I’m expected to teach them to be a good citizen. To honor our country, to take care of our earth, to follow rules, and to take care of each other. To be a good sport and to not kick someone when they are down, but hold out your hand to help them up. To be humble and to be proud.
I’m expected to teach them self-discipline. To help them see they are responsible for their own choices and they must pay consequences for those choices sometimes. To show them they have full control over their actions and behaviors and they cannot blame others for their shortcomings.
I’m expected to teach them to cooperate. To model that compromise is a crucial and essential skill. That you must really listen to others and try to see others’ points of view in order to accomplish anything. That everyone’s role is important and necessary within a group and people count on you to do your part.
Then I turn on the news. And I wonder if I should be teaching my elementary school character lessons to our politicians instead. To them I say…you expect me to do these things to keep my job? Well, I expect you to do them as well. It’s time to grow up.