I walked into the school in mid-August and was greeted by a very friendly student who had been working with Mr. McGrail all summer doing school maintenance. I asked him about his summer and he immediately asked me all about mine! It was such a delightful conversation!
I have to be honest, many times I have asked a student about their summer and received a reply of “Good,” and nothing else. How inspiring is it when a student looks me in the eye and asks me back, “What did you do this summer Mr. Goertzen?” It shows interest, intelligence, confidence, and good manners to ask a question back to an adult.
I have spent some time this summer thinking about things that separate the socially adept from the socially inept. They seem to be small things which make a big difference. As I made this list, I am reminded again that these are things we need to intentionally do as adults and teach to our children (teenagers too).
It is impressive when students get off our school bus, or out of a parent’s vehicle on a field trip, and without prompting say, “Thank you for the ride Mrs. Smith.” How amazing is it when a new prospective family comes through the front door and a student opens the door, looks them in the eye and says, “Good afternoon!”
Social adeptness will not appear in our children unless we are deliberate and consistent both at home and at school. And, modeling these behaviors is the best teacher of all. Perhaps take this list and go through it with your children, whatever the age. Sit down and think up examples of your own which aren’t on this list. Reward your children with positive encouragement when you see them live these out. Put this list on your fridge for the year. It is the start of a new school year. This isn’t the whole list, that’s for sure, but together they get at the one big thing—care for others, like you care for yourself.
Strive for Twenty-Five