As a teacher and mother of two, I’m surrounded by kids for a majority of my day. And they all fall into the middle grade/high school age. Twice this week I referenced Trump as a learning moment and it was unexpected and profound.
The first was while at work, moving about my classroom helping students with their assignment. Students were working in groups and at that middle grade age, it means less working and more chatting. I overheard a boy talking about girls he was “dating”, girls he was ranking and describing in a not so flattering manner. In sexual ways. A few of the students in his group were taken aback by his comments and a few others were laughing. Either in solidarity or of embarrassment. I turned to him and first reminded him of the inappropriateness of the topic but it didn’t seem to register. I was yet another “old” adult telling him what to do, what to say, what not to say, to “behave”. But when I told him what he was saying is something Trump would say, he paused. The students around him paused and the conversation stopped. It dawned on him that being compared to Trump was not a positive thing. These students can’t vote and don’t care about politics. But they do care about image.
The second was this morning while taking my daughter to the bus stop. She is also in middle school and asked me about her features. She pointed out parts of her body and asked if they were ugly and “not good enough” as told to her by a few boys on her bus. I went into philosophical, fighter mom mode. Fight back. Stand up for yourself. Ignore them. But the words didn’t register as sage advice. I could see she needed something more, something useful. What followed was, “honey, he’s just a jerk, like Trump.” Again we didn’t go into politics and business, but referenced him as a person. As a man who makes fun of people, demeans women and has no remorse for his hurtful words. She didn’t need further Kumbaya advice. She got it.
I’m not a political person. I’ve been off the internet and social media for some time because it’s exhausting and emotionally draining. I realized this week (and especially this morning) how to use something so disturbing as a teaching moment. I didn’t have to go far to prove my point, give numerous examples or convince children around me with thought-out lesson plans. Bullying and image are topics that come up in my world every day at work and at home. This was also the easiest mini-lesson I didn’t have to plan for as a teacher this year. And as a parent to two daughters, powerful.
So, thank you Trump for showing children, impressionable ones, how not to be. Thank you for being the example of how not to act. Thank you for reminding kids to think before they speak and to chose their words carefully. And to those who are bullied, referencing you in the same breath, gives the power back. Because in the context of behavior and character, the comparison speaks volumes.
*This blog has been silent for some time. It’s simply poor time management and feeling the need for change. Books have always been the focus, but if I don’t want to write a review, what else is there? I have many conversations with you in my mind every day. Things I want to talk about. Words I want to get out of my head and write down. So this blog might change as the days roll by. I’m trying to figure out how to do that, while still gushing over my love for literature. And I realized I can do all of the above. I have done it before under “Other Good Doses”. We’ll see what happens. 🙂