Have you ever had a student who acted out incessantly and honestly just drove you crazy? You wondered how in the world anyone could be expected to tolerate such outlandish behavior, yet alone educate such a person? Even crazier, you finally get the chance to meet the child’s mother and they seem completely blind to the child’s true disposition! How is it that two people can interact with the same individual and walk away with such contrasting opinions of the person? Surely, you’ve both spent considerable time with this kid and can adequately describe their character. Why is it that one has nothing good to say, while the other nothing bad?
I’d like to think that it all comes down to what you’re looking for in another person. After all, we’re all just human. All of us have good and bad characteristics, and our fair share of flaws. For example, maybe you are a charismatic people-person, but also tend to be disorganized. Perhaps you know someone who is goal-oriented and has strong leadership skills, but lacks empathy toward others. Maybe one of your co-workers has an intense work ethic and is very diligent, but they lack vision and tend to miss out on opportunities for themselves. The point is, we are all a mixed bag. Perhaps it’s in our best interest to, at times, take a cue from the adoring mother who can see no wrong when relating with her child. She focuses on the good.
I believe all relationships could benefit from this reminder…look for the good! Though the junk and baggage is there, we give far too much attention and power to it. Continuing to only point out the problems we see in others rarely benefits anyone. Many times, the person whose faults you’re pointing out is already quite aware of (and often self-conscious about) them. Does it really help to constantly remind someone else of all the things you find to be wrong with them? No! It only draws them away and sets the stage for future confrontations.
When you take the time to recognize the positive qualities of others, they naturally gravitate toward you. Acceptance and trust eventually become reciprocated as you become a safe, encouraging place in their lives. I’ve discovered that the student/teacher relationship is no different!
I know it can be difficult and doesn’t always come naturally, but I promise good is there. As educators, our job is to first find it, then focus our attention on drawing out those qualities as we relate to our students. You’ll find that the process becomes easier over time, and the desire to treat the other person in a more respectful and loving manner becomes mutual. So, what are you waiting for? Practice being mindful as you look for the good in each of your students, and you’ll quickly find what you’re searching for. When we are intentional, and search for the good in others, we are guaranteed to find it. And when we choose to view others in this way, our hearts are changed toward them as well.
If you are an educator looking for a tangible way to recognize and encourage your unmotivated students, look no further. I know you can do this, and our team can help! We can re-energize and motivate this generation by recognizing the strides they are making when working toward their goals. Let’s breathe life into our nation’s classrooms!