From a blog in Chinese I’m a subscriber to, a lesson, to ALL parents out there…
There was, an entire pack of Kleenex which was shoved into the toilets of the writing class, a whole bottle of soft soap, dumped in too. This had been happening, once every week, and it’d, continued on, for a month to date. I’d used the trash bags as a glove of sorts, and, took the entire pack of Kleenex out of the urinals, not feeling the least upset.
A mother asked me, how, can you, not get affected by it?
Because I’m not angered by this behavior, nor did I feel upset by it, it’s just, something, that’s, happened, I’d taken it, matter-of-factly, like it’s any other day.
this, is what’s happening when they were young, NOT my photo…
The Forest for the Trees Writing Classes, compared to the normal schools, is a much more lenient place, simply because my partners, all came from an alternative sort of schools, and they’d, incorporated the Stair model in their teachings too. I just have this doubt, this child, who’d carried so much anger, chose to dump ALL the liquid soaps and the toilet papers in, it’s, to the point of metaphoric, and I had, decided, to bring it up to the classes I teach in, with that peaceful state of mind, but I had, only brought it up to just one class of students, then, I’d, forgotten about it. Until, it’d, happened, again, that, was when I’d noticed how a student, T, had been, living under oppressions of sorts, his mind and heart were, filled with rage and fear, he was, harshly disciplined in his home, as well as in school too. And, I’d zoomed in on T, to be sure, that clogging up the toilets was, his doing.
I’d not planned to tell his parents, nor had I, planned, to call him out for it. Instead, I’d held, a classroom discussion of the matter with the rest of the students, told everybody, that I knew, who had, done it. But I had no intentions, of bring up the individual’s name to the rest of the class, or to set the student straight, I was, merely, curious, because the Forest for the Trees is very open, tolerant of all languages and all behaviors, that I was, confused, as to what happened to the student, to make her/him, want to do such a thing? I’d told everybody my way of handling the matter, that I had, NO intentions, of naming the student, nor would I, tell the parents about what s/he had done, because I didn’t want to, correct him, in front of everybody else. I’d told everybody, that I’d understood that this had happened, but I’d not, condoned this bad behavior, as it was, quite, inappropriate.
now, as they get older…NOT my photo…
The students in the class asked me, why I’d not, punished the student? I’d told them, that he’d, not meant it, that I really couldn’t tell, what, was happening in his life. That everybody makes mistakes sometimes, and have moments where one really can’t understand why oneself did certain things.
T the child, was quite well today, wrote his essays quietly. That event didn’t occur today, but that doesn’t mean, that the event had, become, extinct for certain. I thought about, if it were to, occur again, I shall, call T to me, and find out what, exactly, was happening in his life, and asked him how, he shall, take responsibilities for his own actions.
And, the second class came in, the kids started writing their essays and interacted with me at the same time, some students mentioned how strict their parents were on them. Then, I’d asked the class, who had been, physically punished by their parents? Eighty-percent of the class raised their hands. For most of the kids who’d raised their hands, their parents had, read my books, or gone to my lectures. A lot of the students followed the flow of the conversation, and mentioned their fears of school, how the teachers there only cared about grades and would administer test after test after test to them. But, I’d, gone to that particular school, to lecture, to ALL the instructors teaching there.
Then, the students, they’d pointed to me, and told me that, I’d, failed, to educate, and asked me, if I’d lectured on the topics as I had done, then, why did the adults still teach them, using their original methods?
This, would be what happens, if redirections of behaviors of the younger years weren’t made…
I’d told this group of children, that the adults want to change, that they only have good intentions for them, but, I’d not felt, that they approached the matters correctly, that I hoped, to improve my own skills. But, I’d not, blamed the school instructors OR the parents, nor would I, belittle them. Because if they’d not wanted to change, then, they wouldn’t have, come to my lectures, nor would the, read the books I wrote. They’d not, wanted to do what they did. It’s caused, by the way they were, raised, that I will, incorporate the theories of education, into helping the adults know the frameworks they were, raised under.
The graduate student who was there, to observe felt particularly pessimistic about it all.
He’d told me, that the behavioral approach to education, is still, the mainstream. The key is, that in this particular approach, used the ideals of rewards and punishment, and as the professors heard, they’d all, agreed with me. So, how would we, punish children today? Make them copy their textbooks, or, make them stand at the back of the classrooms, that, was the mainstream measures that he’d, perceived.
I’d remembered the TFT set up by An-Ting Liu, how rigorous the trainings for the instructors were, how the lessons were taught so very well, and, how wonderful it would be, if university professors all worked together in this method?
The power of framework is so deeply rooted. A good friend called me up today, told me that he’d not wanted to, lend anybody to other people, but, was, compelled to give a loan when he was asked for one, that he simply, couldn’t tell those who wanted to borrow money from him, “No”. All of this, was caused, by the frames of mind he’d acquired when he was growing up. And this friend, was so afraid, that he won’t be liked, or accepted by others in the world, he’d, lost sight, and sense, of who he is.
I’m more than certain, that parents who physically disciplined their young, must’ve endured through a childhood of physical discipline too. And, those teachers who’d asked nothing BUT perfection from the students, must have, a very unsettled mind. And, although the societies tell us, that we need, more people with certain characteristics, but, we just, couldn’t, break out of this box we were raised in.
Emotions, are the messages within these, frameworks. As T had done what he did, the way I’d reacted, was exactly, the area I’d needed to, explore into more. My frames of mind from the past, is quite obvious, if something like what T had done happened before, I would’ve, totally, gotten angered, felt upset, and helpless, of how it’d turned out. And maybe, we’re, NOT at all, free. But, we always, deserve to be, if, we can, open up these boundaries, we’d be, closer to that freedom.
So, I’d, opened up my frames of mind a little bit, and, dealt with the problems T created, better. Had I been too harsh on T, then, T’s frame of interaction will merely, duplicate my strictness on him, filled with anger, and fear, trying hard, but, failed to, live up to the expectations of others, and, his mind would, become, chaotic. And, if I were, to treat him, more leniently, then, it would yield, another sort of result. At least, T would feel, that he was, treated differently than usual.
From the behaviors of T, to my friend borrowing money from me, along with how the children returned what the teachers and parents taught to them, I was quite inspired.
So, there are, a few things at play here: first, the adults must maintain that even, state of mind, otherwise, children will, pick up on your hidden emotions (which you don’t even have a CLUE that you’re, experiencing, ADULT!), secondly, you always NEED to, examine the behaviors of children, because, when kids misbehaved, it’s, usually when something is not quite right with them, and, if you only focused on the bad behaviors they did, then, you would’ve, missed out on the opportunities, to effectively, help the child out. There’s, this, necessity, of having a KEEN sense of observation in this that’s for sure!