How to Behave 101 | Mark’s Remarks

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Hey kids, I’m afraid here’s another column addressed to you.

Number one, as we start school. I see kiddos who regularly walk down the hall in the mornings. They are good kids from good homes who most likely aren’t lacking in much.

I can tell you most of us teachers who walk down the halls in the mornings and during highly populated times will say “good morning” or some sort of greeting at least a dozen or more times.

Many students have to be stopped and told what to say and how to act. The kids who have learned to make eye contact and say hello at home come to school with these skills. And these are usually the kids who excel.

I understand shyness, and I have shy kids in my house. Still, I make them smile and say hello and have told them since they were little that they were supposed to be as pleasant as possible.

Even if it’s uncomfortable. Kids who learn to engage and communicate effectively will always have that skill.

While we are on the subject of how to behave, I want to address the so-called “pep club” at school.  You guys are awesome, we like you and we thank you  for coming to the games to support the team. It is appreciated. You have good leadership, and I’m almost positive this leadership has told you how to conduct yourselves.

But I’m not sure you are doing what they’ve told you. You are not going to look uncool if you cheer.  You are not going to be looked at as being weird if you do some good old-fashioned crowd chants. 

I went to a football game last year and you guys stood there with your arms folded. Why? Why don’t you work with the band and cheer, chant, sing and raise the roof?  Can you imagine how much team spirit you would foster? Quit being cool cats and get into it. Or sit somewhere that doesn’t have the label “pep” attached to it.

See how the cheerleaders are smiling and yelling? You should be doing that too! You are there for the team.

You are being  raised in a really weird era. For some reason, your world has become extremely self-centered and some adults in your lives think you deserve special treatment.  They think their children are all shining stars and are a cut above.

Hey, that’s OK. Your parents should think you are a cut above and the best.  However, they should not demand or expect that you get special treatment. You are not that special. Sorry.  

People are saying you all are acting “entitled.”  You aren’t entitled to anything you don’t work for and you need to realize that and change their thinking.  The kids who are working hard and who don’t expect handouts are going to rise above you.

You need to appreciate everything you get and have. If your parents aren’t telling you to be grateful, I am. I’m sorry you didn’t get to graduate or have your prom, but life will give you celebrations in the future and you’ll be good. Trust me. 

Be glad you have a lot of luxuries in your life. Like a home, running water and heat or AC. Oh, and plenty to eat.

Put your stinking phone down once in a while and talk to people. Ask people how they are (including parents and family). Have conversations. Focus on the other person and see if you can just listen, not even interjecting a personal story about yourself. Listen, smile, support. Be interested in another person.  If you force yourself to do it, it will begin to come naturally.

Do you realize the difference you can make in a person’s life? Try to make new friends. Sit by someone new and venture out of your comfort zone. Talk to older folks. Call your grandparents. Ask your parents out on dates. See if  you can spend more time thinking of others than you do about yourself and your own comfort.

Look, this isn’t just about you. There are plenty of adults in your lives who do the same things I’m accusing you to do (me included; yes, the judgmental preacher person writing this column). 

Many of them are still little, scared kids in adult bodies.  Many of them only think of themselves. It isn’t a kid thing. I just want you to change how the world perceives you.  

And if you start now, think of how our world can be!

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