Friday, November 17, 2006

Growing up

As both a coach and a teacher, I regularly get to watch as students take strides to advance through their adolescent years relatively unscathed. Some students fascinate me with their ability to be simultaneously a child and an adult. Those students whose maturity masks their youthfulness have taken great pride in growing up. They know how to hold conversation with an adult without feeling awkward or intimidated. They know when acting youthful is encouraged and accepted and when acting all grown up is the path to choose.
I overheard another teacher compliment a young lady on her politeness. The student had made a phone call to her mother regarding some paperwork that she needed delivered to the school with a signature. The student did not sigh or become impatient with her mother, even though the time frame didn't fit what she wanted.
Upon receiving the compliment, the young lady said, "Thank you; that is how I was raised; it's no big deal." How wrong she was. Today, polite students--at least polite in the way the previous generations know--are often hard to come by. It's not that this generation as a whole is rude, but maybe a bit too casual at times.
I'm okay with the, "Hey Mr. Mac," or the "Hey Mac," but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to always be Mr. McNamar.
I am also amazed at how some students can take ultimate responsibility for their actions while others will look for any reason to shun accountability. I don't know if it is a grown up thing to do or not, for surely many grown ups also shun responsibility, but it sure is impressive when it comes from a teenager.


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