We all remember elementary school, do we not? Ok, maybe we don’t remember every single aspect of it, but we were taught certain expectations others held us accountable for.
While English, math, science, and all those good subjects are extremely important, I think it’s fair to say the original reason why public schools in the U.S. were formed is the most important thing students learn from going to school: how to be good, respectful American citizens.
In public school, peers who are from very different backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses, as well as those who hold different beliefs and religions, surround students on a daily basis.
They are opened up to the lives of others and are taught about these different backgrounds in a very informal way through conversing with their classmates. I would argue that this is by far the most valuable lesson a child can be taught.
Some of my personal favorite lessons I was taught in school were:
1.Treat others the way you want to be treated
2.Listen while others are talking
3.Keep hands, feet, objects, and unkind remarks to yourself
4.Use your manners and be polite to others
These lessons are engrained in my mind and heart to this day. I live by these old classroom rules.
However, as I look around my community and see what is going on in the media and the news, I feel like a lot of us have forgotten these basic elementary school rules.
If we had to learn these by heart as young students and be held to these expectations, why should things be any different now that we’re older?
Someone may be different than you, have different beliefs or a different religion from you, and may act different than you.
In elementary school, you were taught to treat that person with the upmost respect.
You were taught to treat them how you would want to be treated.
You would be told to listen to them if they had something to say without tuning them out or interrupting.
You would be told to not be physically or verbally violent towards them.
You would be told to be polite and kind to them.
You would be told to work with them peacefully and effectively.
Failure to do any of the above would result in a phone call home or a visit to the principal’s office.
I believe we all need to remember our elementary school days where we were taught to be respectful and kind to others. Back then we had more friends and got along with more peers because we were more open to differences instead of being offended by them.
We didn’t separate ourselves from our classmates, hate them, or discriminate against them, just because they had beliefs or life experiences that were way different than ours.
The world would be a much more accepting and welcoming place for ALL if we only just remembered those lessons that were so engrained in us in elementary school.