It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost time for school to start back. Summer has been a great time for family vacations and memories, but now it’s time to shift our thinking. There are a few words that we need to make sure our kids learn and understand before school starts back.
Words our Students need to Learn before School
Next vs last:
Each year brings new opportunities but it’s sometimes tempting to spend our time looking back instead of looking forward to next. As parents, we sometimes show by example that last is more important than next. As our children start their next adventure, let’s model by our words and actions that the last year (last experience, last school grade etc) may have been amazing, but we are so excited to see what is ‘next’! The next team/grade/club/experience has the potential to be even better! Let’s look forward not back!
Talk vs Walk:
It’s one thing for kids to talk about how they may go to church, be a good kid, love their friends or do their best, but it’s a different thing completely for them to actually walk the walk! Help your kids understand that reputation is what people think about them, but their character is what they really are. As they grow up and move into the next grade of school, who they are and how they act when no one seems to be looking is sometimes more important than the words they say.
Truth vs fiction:
Kids (and adults) love to talk and share their opinions about people and events. We’ve all heard that we should “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” We need to teach our kids to always treat everything they hear as fiction until it can be verified. They often overhear things from family or friends and only get half the truth. People’s lives can be ruined if we can’t distinguish truth from fiction.
Mean vs Scared:
Sometimes kids in the classroom or on teams may come across as mean, but they may in actuality just be scared. Are they scared of losing their position? Are they scared of not being popular or liked by others? Why are they being mean? Let’s help our kids learn that sometimes people act mean because they are worried about something. It’s not a way to excuse their mean behavior but it can help our kids have a better understanding of why someone is acting in an unfavorable way.
Confident vs Haughty:
We want our kids to have a healthy dose of self-confidence and believe in themselves, but we need to make sure we can draw the line and not be proud or haughty. When our kids do something that is great, let’s applaud their performance, but let’s make sure we keep them grounded and not build them up with a false sense of greatness.
In the movie “The Giver” adapted from the dystopian society book by Lois Lowry, there is a phrase that has stuck in my head. The mom says to the son, “use precision of language”. We need to make sure we are teaching our students and our kids to use the correct word and understand the differences. As our kids start back to school, we may hear that someone is being mean to them or that they are scared about the next grade. By talking through these words and helping them understand the differences, maybe we can encourage a perspective shift and help them transition to a new school year.
What words do you think are important to teach your students as they get ready for back to school? I’d love to hear!
Excerpts of this article first appeared in the print edition of the Advocate Messenger, Danville, Kentucky.