When a child comes to me with his parents’ imprinting or the lack thereof, there is little I can do to change behavior and mindset. I can’t do their job and be Mom. I have to be Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson can’t ground them from their electronic devices by making them rake the leaves in the yard to expend excess energy. Mrs. Johnson can’t make them go to bed on time each night to get enough rest. Mrs. Johnson can’t cook nutritious meals that nourish their growing bodies. I can’t do that.
I can try to work with my students where they are and encourage them to do the right thing the first time. I can try to start each day as a fresh slate. I can encourage them to be kind to one another and accept each other’s foibles and quirks. I can demand an apology when they are out of line. I can demand extra time at school with detentions to ponder their choices. I can try to make a lasting impression on their minds about the standards I hold and expect them to meet. I can’t lower my expectations or give up and give in. I can’t do that.