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Change the Room

by Ronald A. Rowe | December 24th, 2014 | Behavior, Elementary

classroom (400x400)For many children, elementary school marks the first real exposure to peers who are very different from themselves.  Sure, they may have been to church or synagogue or even a preschool but the odds are that most of the children with whom they interacted at those institutions were pretty similar to themselves.

If your children are attending a public elementary school, all bets are off.  Even though the attendance zones are determined geographically it will most likely include a fairly diverse student population.  All different ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds will be represented.  That exposure is a very good thing in theory.  Your child should experience life outside his or her close-knit community.  He or she should know what the whole broader world is about.

In practice, it should still be a good thing.  But it takes a little bit of leadership and guidance from you to ensure that the exposure is a positive thing.  Your child will experience the good and the bad in elementary school.  Early on in elementary school, your child will be faced with a choice and that choice will repeat over and over again throughout his or her entire life.

Will he or she change the room or be changed by it?

When you walk into a room, either you carry your personality, beliefs, convictions, and attitude or you allow the personalities, beliefs, convictions, and attitudes of the people in the room to overwrite yours.  We all face this challenge and opportunity as adults.  Children face it as well.  And it is even harder for the young ones to be room changers in the face of new and disruptive personalities.

It is easy to allow dominant personalities to overtake us.  It is easy to fall into complaining, gossip, and negativity when we are around others who are doing so.  As adults, we have built certain filters to help us stave off the influence and change the room to our attitude.  Children need help from parents to learn the techniques necessary to bee room changers.  Without active and intentional participation from us, it is far too likely that our children will fall prey to the temptation of giving in to the negative emotions that so easily dominate.

Encourage your child to be a room changer.  Teach him or her to stand firm in their own convictions.  Whatever it is that you believe, give your child the tools to hold fast to those beliefs.  Your children need to know that being positive, refraining from unnecessary complaining, and building others up are traits to be cherished and cultivated.  The best way to teach this valuable lesson is to model that behavior.  Children learn far more from what you do than what you say.  Are you demonstrating a positive attitude for your child?  Does he or she see you gossiping and complaining?  Or do  you model a room changing lifestyle that shows them the way to change the room themselves?

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