Search This Blog

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Lessons We Teach

I was sent this video from a friend.  It's crazy to think of the things that people do and say out of fear.  I was thinking about this because I have a childhood friend who is pretty right-winged with his beliefs.  He and I go back and forth on issues and the whole immigration issue was one of them (among other things).  

Working in student affairs, I think I've become... wait.. I KNOW I've become more accepting of things, more knowledgeable of people's feelings, and more politically correct - and we all know that this can sometimes be taken wrong by those who don't understand why I/we choose to use certain words. I am often dubbed a liberal. I'm okay with that.

I was thinking about how I now, since becoming a student affairs practitioner, have become an advocate for so many things and find myself sharing what I've learned not only with the students I work with, but also with my family, friends and acquaintances.  

  • Instead of assuming someone is married to a man or a woman and saying husband and wife - we say partner or spouse. 
  • Instead of saying someone is black, people will say African-American (although I still ONLY say black - because I did not immigrate from Africa). 
  • Instead of saying Merry Christmas, we say Happy Holidays.
  • Etc. etc.... 
In the last 5 years, I find myself advocating for things that aren't even related to me. Be it someone's religious beliefs, to the poor, the homeless, beggars on the street, people who are extremely different from myself and so forth.  There was a lesson that I learned from Mr. Wagner in 5th grade. To give people the benefit of the doubt (although it was most often related to when we scored classmate's tests and quizzes). 

After having watched the video, I started to think about how we try to educate our students. I plan to spark a discussion with them to get them to think more about more important matters than what's happening with Britney Spears or how the next episode of a reality show is so intense.  

I give the people in the video the benefit of the doubt.  My first instinct was to think, "Wow, these people are crazy!". Then I thought about how they're not so much crazy as they are afraid. I also don't perceive them to necessarily be racist but they are wanting self-preservation. All of this comes from not being aware of how the other side feels.  One of the lessons I learned in life is to place myself in someone else's shoes before I make a judgement.  What would I do and how would I feel?

Watch the video and think about how you're doing your part to teach the lessons you've learned to the students you work with. 

Just something to think about.

No comments: