If you glanced at the title, you already could guess what I’m going write about today. Yesterday started off with one (or several) of my students stealing pens from art class. Fun, right? These are the little things you don’t look forward to during the school year.
The art teacher in question is a wonderful gal, too. She’s not the kind of teacher that students would steal from so they could get her back for something. She’s the type of teacher that goes above and beyond for her students and probably bought those pens herself for them to use.
We went through the whole shebang of things afterwards to try and get the pens back, but they never showed up. I offered a one-time “get out of jail free card” and made it very possible for the culprit(s) to anonymously return the pens. Nothing.
As I stewed on this later, I realized that there are generations of people learning on a daily basis that you don’t have to admit any wrongdoing anymore. Deny, lie, ignore…whatever. I had kids making up false narratives about what happened because, well, why not? We live in a world where you can create your own reality and it’s very reasonable to expect others to just swallow it.
The only thing you can do is just continue to teach them to think for themselves and listen to their internal voice. I tend to believe that the internal voice doesn’t lie to us when it comes to our objective moral order of truth. That is, the thing inside our head that knows right from wrong.
I tried to reason with them. I told them I understood, and I do understand it. I see things I want all the time. We all have thoughts about stealing, but that’s all it ever is… a thought. Then the little voice says, “whoa, there tiger. That’s not cool” or worse, “what would people think?”
Maybe I should have done 10 minutes on how guilt will kill you. They never would have bought that, though. They all see enough each day where adults are doing things that, to a nine-year-old, they should be feeling terrible about but there is no discernible guilt, regret, or remorse. To a child, the lack of visual evidence is enough to conclude that for some, guilt doesn’t exist.
Last night I had a dream where I was writing a haiku about John Cusack.
I wish I could think
Or recall what it had said
But I just can’t now
It was something a-
Bout John Cusack being in
A movie with me
Why was I there, hmmm?
Was the movie about me?
How cool is that?
Stupid dreams again,
He thought as he typed. Sheepish
Thoughts in the morning.
See you tomorrow.
One of my favorite places. Coo's Canyon featuring the wonderfully named Swift River.