I work with kids, and always have in many different capacities. I recently realized that my actions directly affect the actions and behaviors of the kids with whom I work. This isn’t a distant effect either. No child came to me, now a young adult, telling me about their life and how I affected it; for good or bad. This isn’t a change I saw in a kid one day after a whole year of them attending my class. This isn’t some kid telling me, “you do it,” when I scold them for their behavior.
This is a direct correlation between my behavior and the behavior of the kids with whom I work on a near daily basis. I have behaved poorly, gently, kindly, and angrily towards many of the kids I teach or just watch over. I just recently noticed that as I changed my behavior (over a 2 hour period) the behavior of most of the kids around me changed accordingly. I realized (to my dismay) that my actions are affecting these kids lives right now! Not at some point in the future, where my behavior will have trickled into their subconscious until they begin to exhibit similar behaviors and tendencies… I am affecting these kids now, while they are standing in front of me.
As Marty McFly says, “heavy.”
Now, knowing this I obviously need to watch my behavior ever more closely… which is exhausting because of my natural tendency to behave rudely, sarcastically, and in a very animated manner (so as to garner laughs from the surrounding audience). But, how could I not try, knowing what I now know?
P.S. – working with kids is tiring… but I love it.