Self-Esteem is EARNED. So Is Shame.

Mamacita says:  I wanted to put a picture of dysfunctional, misbehaving students here, but I got so angry as I searched for a freebie, I had to stop.

Because I’m going to lay it on the line here, so stand back, bleeding hearts.

Disruptive people are bringing us all down.

Outside of a diagnosed problem, there is no excuse for acting up in public, whether that be a classroom, a mall, a store, a restaurant, a post office, or any other public place.  Or, for that matter, a private place.  Nice people behave at home, too.  (I am NOT speaking of SPED.)  When someone has a problem or condition that can’t be helped, I’m full of compassion.  But when someone chooses to behave in ways that hurt, hinder, or in any way keep a child from feeling safe and able to learn freely, my mother grizzly bear instincts spring into play.

I am not picking exclusively on students here, either.  Adults need to shape up as well.  Shame on any of you who chooses to behave poorly in public.

Nobody should be afraid to venture outside his/her own home.  That there are public places in this country that are not safe is a disgrace, and whose fault is it?

It’s the fault of all of us, for not speaking out and insisting that any and all disruptive, violent, dangerous people be removed from the premises and put where others can’t be harmed by them.  Why do we allow bullying?  Sure, there’s a lot of talk about anti-bullying policies, etc, but the bullies are just getting better at it.  There are children in our country who are afraid to go to school because of other children who are torturing them every day and getting away with it.

Back in the day, as George Washington might have said if he’d had to, except he DIDN’T have to because in his day, violent people were dealt with promptly and in a way that mightily discouraged repeat performances, a teacher’s problems consisted of gum, untucked shirts, spitballs, and the occasional talking-back, all of which were dealt with swiftly and firmly.  The teacher was in charge; the parents respected the teacher; the principal usually backed up the teacher, and since decent people were respected back then, the student knew that to be a decent person, he/she needed to shape up or look forward to five to ten in the pen.  At the very least, to be deprived of any further free public educational opportunities, because frankly, those belong to learners, not destroyers.

Said shaping-up to be done by the student, mind you.  Who else can do it?  Nobody, that’s who.

Now, of course, we have no place to put these youthful destroyers of our children’s educational and social opportunities, because there’s nobody home.  Even when a dangerous student IS – miracle of miracles – expelled, he/she is soon back in the classroom with a crap-ton of paperwork for the teacher, because, apparently, the welfare, peace of mind,  self-esteem, and learning opportunities of the nice majority mean nothing compared to the self esteem, placement, and rights of the mean minority.

Remember, I am not speaking of SPED here.  I am speaking of students who, of their own free will, have chosen to be bullies, creeps, jerks, disrupters, and pretty much anything else as long as it keeps YOUR children from a safe, wonderful, creative, artistic, did I mention SAFE, learning environment.  These are kids who want what they want and they want it NOW.  You know, like any kid, except that these kids DEMAND it at any cost, that cost generally paid by someone else.

People have criticized me for wanting dangerous students out of the building and as far away from genuine students as possible.  “Where will they go?”  “Where else can we put them?”  My answer was “I really don’t know nor do I care, as long as they’re away from the good kids who have rights, too, but you’d never know it because all the attention seems to be focused on the lowest common denominator.”  And people said, “Shame on you!  These kids need help!”  To which I say, “Yes.  Yes, they do, and I hope they get it, but NOT at the expense of the rest of the children of the nation.”   I want these violent kids to get help.  I want that help to be kind, sincere, and thorough.  And I want it to be given to them away from the other children, because children should not be exposed to violence in the first place, and especially not from other children.  And, violent children should not be given access to our children as targets.  Get the violent people AWAY from our children.  (Again, I’m not speaking of SPED here.)

But no.  Good, kind, creative, artistic, dreamy, sweet, intellectual kids are pretty much ignored, day after day, year after year, because everybody’s focused on the violent, dangerous, bullying kids whose self-esteem is apparently more important than that of a good child.

And so it continues: dangerous, disruptive kids sitting next to resigned, frightened actual students who would love to learn but who can’t because of the dangerous kids.

I don’t know the solution.

Too many ignorant people are breeding, and leaving the care and feeding of their kids to the system, maybe.

Too many silly, hormonal teens are breeding, and leaving the care and feeding of their kids to their elderly, tired grandparents, maybe.

Or could it be that our schools have somehow, and for some reason, given up any and all authority and have become yet another victim of student bullies with enabling or non-existent parents?

I’m kind of thinking a mash-up.

Just as I am a great believer in getting rid of mediocre teachers, I am also in favor of turning our schools back into halls of learning for serious students, not institutions where people dump their kids for free daycare and sue if there’s discipline.

Then again, I might just still be traumatized by the children in the post office today, running wild, screaming at the tops of their lungs, throwing everything in sight, bumping into people, and drawing on the walls, while their mom argued with the clerk because she couldn’t mail her gaudily gift-wrapped and be-ribboned-and-bowed birthday package as-is, without paying for a box.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it.

Quite frankly, I am of the opinion that a little shame – if someone has behaved shamefully – does more good than harm.  After all, self esteem means less than nothing unless it’s been honestly and personally earned, and if a student does something shameful, he/she ought to feel ashamed.

And don’t try to argue with me that shame and humiliation are the same thing.  They are not.  Buy a dictionary.

Shame is earned.  Humiliation is inflicted.  We get what we earn. Or should, anyway.

I need caffeine.

P.S.  Dear sweet well-behaved out-of-the-box conscientious questioning curious children who love to learn, I adore you, even when you pull the occasional shenanigans, and sometimes especially when you pull the occasional shenanigans.  Stay safe.  One day, those bullies – the ones who are employed, that is –  will be sweeping your office floors and unclogging your toilets.  Until then, try to avoid them.  And by all means, tell someone when they scare you.

I’m so sorry you have to endure them.


Self-Esteem is EARNED. So Is Shame. — 16 Comments

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