Today, as I was getting yelled at by another adult at school (an aide) I couldn't help but think about the way my students act. I asked myself how could I expect my students to have tact, reply respectfully, tell the truth, and work things out when it's clear that the most of the adults in their life are not modeling this for them.
I stood pondering the way this woman was addressing me, full of angry words that she had heard from someone else, using sarcasm to sting and make her point, not wanting to listen or understand my side of the story (which contained the missing piece of information she needed). When I finally asked her if I could tell her what happened and after she took the time to calm down and listen she realized her anger wasn't with me.
As I was driving home, feeling wronged by this lady and sad for the shape of society, I realized there are important lessons I want to teach Miles.
1. Loudest doesn't mean right.
2. Asking respectful questions is the best way to get answers.
3. When you have a problem with someone, you should go to them
4. Screaming makes you look childish, don't interrupt, wait for your turn and speak slowly.
5. Never say something in an argument that you will regret later
6. Understand your feelings. Embarrassed, hurt, sad, and disappointed sometimes disguise themselves as anger.
7. Keeping a calm demeanor is something that shows self-control
8. If you do get yelled at unfairly, remind yourself that no one is perfect. Give that person extra grace.
9. You can't undo your words. Choose them wisely or choose silence. Another opportunity will come up where you can discuss the subject again.
10. Conduct yourself in such a way people know your character and when it comes called into question, you have something to fall back on.
So tomorrow, I will meet this co-worker with a new day, feeling no regret or embarrassment about the way I handled myself. I can not control the actions or words of others. Only my own.