The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. – Abraham Lincoln
That’s a pretty straightforward statement – and how true. As educators we are literally teaching and guiding those who will be running the country in 30 years. They will be the ones making the decisions about what is important, who gets the tax cuts, and whether they build a new outlet mall or a school. It is our responsibility, then, to ensure that we are equipping these children with the experiences to develop sound morals, ethics, and priorities. We are to equip them with the tools to be critical thinkers and decision-makers, and to let them know that they can – and will – make a difference. Especially in today’s society, it is so easy to sit back into the world of social media and place our value in how many “likes” we get, or how many “followers” we have; is that what is really important? Consider this: you are teaching those who will be teaching your own children, and who will be teaching alongside you. What sort of values and beliefs do you want to be important? However, it is important to keep in mind that simply because we are teachers we can force our worldview on others. Yes, we can try to instill a sense of priorities and importance – that perhaps fundraising or donating money to a good organization is a good alternative to eating out every day, or that always completing a task to the best of your abilities is important – but we cannot force our ideals upon the students. The best we can do is support and care for them, model our own beliefs and thoughts, and encourage them to pursue their dreams and see the value in everything they do.
I know it seems really cliché, but there is really no other way to say it – the children are the future. We cannot complain about “kids these days” if we are not doing anything to make a difference for them.