Okay, so I admit it, I try to catch a few minutes of the Today show with regularity. It isn’t that the reporting is necessarily intelligent nor the stories all that interesting. I honestly think it is simply the comfort of familiarity first thing in the morning. It also provides me with conversation nuggets for the rest of the day when I don’t feel like making small talk about my children (which is always).
Yesterday, this seemed to be the talk of the day:
The video itself did not shock me in the least. What I found shocking was the shock, appall, and horror of all of the interviewed adults (and the reporters) as if this one incident is the example that America has fallen to such a low low. As if this behavior (and the attitude prompting it) hasn’t been around, and getting progressively worse for about the last fifteen years.
I’m guessing Matt Lauer doesn’t have kids. Or, if he does, I’m guessing his kids don’t go to public school. I can’t believe so many Americans are so unaware of the behavioral issues going on daily in schools and busses across the nation.
Or maybe they are, and the Today show is somewhat in the dark.
This video was pretty tame, to be honest. Terrible. But tame. It is a bunch of middle-class small-town Northeastern white kids calling a defenseless old lady a “fat troll.”
Yes, it is mean.
But I guarantee if this woman had a commanding presence that non-verbally communicated, “Mess with me and I will eat you for lunch you little shits,” these kids would never have opened their dorky little mouths.
She doesn’t, of course, have this personality. The woman is someone’s innocent grandmother. It is sad that in order to work in a public middle school or high school today, the only way to survive is to show the kids you are meaner, stronger, smarter, and more resilient than they are.
It is tiresome, to say the least.
There is one other solution, but it often takes more time and certainly more effort than most of us are willing to put out on a regular basis, especially at the end of a long day with a bus full of brat-kids. Had she been riding the bus long (unclear from the seven minute clip yesterday), she could have actively engaged in learning these kids’ names, and talking to them every day. They probably would have started treating her like their grandmother.
Though I am not a behavioral expert, and certainly not a pro- at making people like me (hah), I think I can say with some certainty that in just five short years of teaching public school kids, many of them delinquents by nature, I figured out how to survive.
This country needs to get over the shock and horror of the fact that parenting today is not the same as parenting in the 50s, or even the 80s. Kids aren’t taught how to respect people, they are taught to fight for whatever they want because they deserve it. Most of them were taught that if they whine enough, they can have anything. Parents don’t say no anymore. Parents don’t say, “I’m the Mommy, that’s why.”
I loved the clip of the woman assuring the nation that these kids will “not go unpunished.”
If kids don’t even respect their own parents’ authority, why do school administrators expect them to respect school authority? If kids are not afraid of parental punishment (which doesn’t really exist), how in the world is school punishment effective?
I feel like I could write a book or teach classes about how to do this.
But I don’t have the energy. Instead, I’m controlling my sphere and hoping it reproduces like the children of Abraham.
I can promise that if my children one day are featured on a YouTube video calling someone’s grandma a fat troll, they will be afraid to come home. They will fear for their lives.