The Cleveland Abductions: A teachable moment for those who teach

Just some thoughts about how the recent abduction and 10 year horror incident that took place in Cleveland, tragically points out some of the  mission-objectives of the professional educator: Every adult no matter how evil was at one point a child; the K-12 school years is the best chance, and time to influence adult behavior. It would seem logical then to invest on the “front-end’ of education; rather than the “back-end” of  crime, pain and suffering. But educators can’t wait until society “gets its head on right”; and so:

  • How well we know (and how important is the vocation), that what happens in childhood, for good or bad, does not stay in childhood.
  • The overriding curriculum is the teaching and acquisition of skills that allow for good moral and ethical decision making. Building the ‘skill- capacity’ to provide for ones material needs; and the sensitivity to serve those who are suffering and in need of your talents.
  • If you are a teacher, you are the teacher of each and every individual student; not the abstract class. If you are a building administrator you are the principal or AP for one student at a time, not a school.
  • Schools must serve as Lighthouses, Sanctuaries and incubators for the dreams of young people.
  • Students don’t just “magically and independently” arrive to school; they bring their families, their neighborhoods, their personal and collective disappointments and pain; their hopes and dreams. Teach and nurture the “entire” child.
  • Help young people to work through the personal pain and disappointment they have/ are experiencing; or they will surly inflict that pain upon the world; and specifically upon their fellow human beings.
  • Help them to understand that they share this planet with other living entities whose existence must be honored and respected; they naturally and automatically inherit the role of caretakers of the environment. They also live in a world community of other human beings, who like them don’t want to suffer; who feel pain just like them; and who like them have dreams they want to fulfill.
  • They must learn that one life affirmed does not mean that another life must be denied. I know much of what we experience as “society” is  driven by a: “winners and losers” culture; but each person has a choice as to how they will conduct and practice their own life.
  • Help them to by all means: “be the individual you”; however we share the planet with other people, and there are some general agreed upon standards of behavior that must be practice and respected, or we will live in a horrific and painful state of chaos.
  • Let them learn that fighting for your “freedom” or “cause”; no matter how justified, can’t include the practice of harming innocent people.

 

  • Teach that the vast majority of the human family all want the same thing; they want to live in peace; they want to work and produce something of beauty; see their family and community thrive; and see “success” as their children’s lives as an improvement over their own lives.
  • You are most often the first “trip-wire” in detecting an out of school abusive situation; this is a sad but important role that we must faithfully play.
  • An important and necessary component of addressing incidents of abuse that often goes unaddressed is the “post-event” counseling service; this intervention should be a necessary component, and is critical to the healing process. Follow-up and make sure it happens.
  • Would we just “pass-over” a student with a broken hand? What then of a broken heart, spirit? We need to treat psychological pain with the same attention and sense of urgency that is given to physical pain.
  • We must help students to discover their unique gifts and talents; the things that they are really good at. The things they feel good about doing.
  • Every student in a school must have the “attention”  and be “known” by some adult in the building; someone who they can talk to; and someone who can talk about them.
  • Students desperately need the misnamed “extra-curricular” experience, as an essential curriculum experience. Dance, Music, Art, Athletics, STEM projects/competitions, Chess, Debate, etc. are important tools in helping them to evolve into truly well-rounded, educated and sensitive human beings.
  • We must help students to discover the unique contribution for which only they are designed and assigned to bring to the world; and the only true failure, is their failure to realize and bring that contribution.
  • I don’t care what they pay professional athletes and entertainers; when we fail at our work there is a serious price that the world is forced to pay.