In one of our opening Town Meetings this September, we were discussing with fifth and sixth graders the concept of respect, our 'virtue' for September. As we were defining respect and talking about what it looks like in the context of school life, a fifth grade boy raised his hand and said, "Well, respect really means to just be awesome."
Dictionary definition of respect: "a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements."
Fifth grade definition of respect, "just be awesome."
Which one resonates more with you…
We all can understand what it means to be awesome. Be engaging, fun, hardworking and cooperative with others. Sing out loud, perform in a concert with a smile on your face, and play outside. Dance, visit an assisted living facility, cook a delicious meal, and support teammates, even in a loss.
As adults, children take clues from watching our behaviors. They watch how we work with other adults. They notice how we handle problems. They understand our intentions in various situations based on tone of voice and body posture. Even when it doesn't seem like it, they listen closely to our words, tucking away various statements into their memories. Children intrinsically notice our behaviors because, as developing human beings, they are trying to figure out how to act in similar situations.
In 2000, Theodore R. Sizer and Nancy Faust Sizer published The Students Are Watching, a book that made an impact in educational circles. As the title suggests, students are influenced by their environments and the people surrounding them. As students develop and change, they are ripe for moral instruction and inspiration, and what we say and do—as educators and parents—matters in the lives of children.
As we race into the fall season, be awesome around your kids: they will reflect back your awesomeness. Young people are always watching, and they respect the behaviors of those close to them. If you don't know Kid President, check out this video for some inspiration on being awesome!
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.