Pillar of the Month
March and April
For the months of March and April, we are going to study the pillar of Trustworthiness! Trustworthiness is BLUE because it reminds of the phrase "true blue" to describe someone who goes above and beyond to keep their word or promise. There are many key ingredients to being a trustworthy individual. Trust is the foundation of all important, lasting relationships. For the next two months, we will be talking with our DME students about integrity, honest communication and actions, the idea of being reliable when you have made a commitment, and what it means to be loyal. Every single day we face situations that offer us a choice - to do the right thing, even if/when no one is looking or if it may cost us. It takes courage to be honest in your actions and communications with others, especially when you are the one that made a mistake. Our hope is to build an environment of trust at DME, and that students will leave this building understanding that honesty and integrity will help them succeed not only in school, but also in life.
Honesty is the Best Policy
How many lies can you tell before I think you are a liar? Teaching kids to be honest is, well let's be honest, HARD! First, it's important to recognize that all kids have the potential to lie. Sometimes parents will say, "my kids don't lie." I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all individuals have the potential to lie and have lied at some point. The degree of lying is typically what gets us in an ethical battle. Was it a white lie or a major lie? There shouldn't be a difference! A lie is a lie! Adults say things all of the time that turn out to not be true. Did you tell someone that you liked their haircut even when you did not? Did you promise your child something and then not follow through? Those "small" acts of dishonesty teach kids that lying is part of what we do. Often kids lie to parents or teachers because of the fear of getting into trouble. They quickly learn what our buttons are and how to deceive in order to get out of a punishment. Kids also lie to tell us what we want to hear because they are afraid of our reaction. You can ask, "how was school today?" and their answer is usually, "fine." Telling you otherwise may result in a long, uncomfortable conversation so they avoid it by providing the answers they know you need.
How do we teach honesty is the best policy? First, watch your reactions to what kids say and think about consequences. Are you punishing the infraction or the lie? Consider applying more weight on the lying part and not as much as the infraction. Second, discuss situations that you see in the media or social situations and use those as conversation pieces. Third, when you make a mistake, be honest and talk with them about how you could have chosen differently. Finally, look at your child through a different lens and realize that lying is something we are all capable of doing! Focus on how trust can be repaired and the steps it takes to be seen as a person of integrity.
Last month's pillar...
For the month of February, we focused on the pillar of Fairness! Fairness is orange because an orange can be divided into parts. Fairness is a complex idea because personal judgement is involved in decision making and requires discernment. We often hear the phrase, "that's not fair" when students feel like someone is getting something that they are not. Our goal is to help guide students to understand that fair does not mean the same, but does mean that everyone is getting what they need in order to be successful. We are going to focus on teaching students to take turns and play by the rules, as well as practice giving deserved credit to others. We want our DME students to treat others equitably based on their value and abilities. Fairness also means that students do not cheat, blame or accuse others, take credit for work that is not theirs, or take advantage of a person or situation even if they feel they can get away with it! Integrity plays a large role into the idea of Fairness. How can you help us teach fairness? Talk to your child about the concept of making fair decisions and accepting fairness even when it means not getting something that they want.