MAXIMize the Moment Junior Volume 1, Issue 2
"Lindsey, what do you think of Anna's new haircut? Doesn't it make her head look huge-like an orange stuck on a toothpick?" I ask, starting to giggle.
Lindsey starts laughing, too.
We don't really hate Anna. It's just that she thinks we're better friends with her than we are. She's always hanging around and trying to be like us. It's pretty annoying-so Lindsey and I figure that we have a right to laugh at Anna sometimes. Most of the other girls don't even talk to Anna because she's so weird. We're way nicer to her than everybody else is. Besides, Anna doesn't know, so it's not like we're hurting her or anything.
Then, I see Anna running past me in the direction of the girls' bathroom. It sounded like she was crying. Did she hear Lindsey and I talking? Did I hurt her that much? Suddenly, I understand what my mother has been telling me. Whenever I say anything mean about someone, she reminds me: "Keep your words sweet-you may have to eat them."
I don't know whether Anna heard me or not, but I wish that I'd never said those mean things. Anna's in the bathroom crying and it's probably because I hurt her or someone else did. I shouldn't have said all that awful stuff. She certainly doesn't need one more person being mean to her. I will try to apologize for saying those awful things, but I don't know if she'll be able to forgive me or if she'll even listen to me. I can't blame her. She has every right to be hurt and angry. One thing I can do, though, is to be more careful of what I say and how I say it. I don't want to keep hurting other people. From now on, I'll remember to keep my words sweet because I may have to eat them.
This week's maxim is "Keep your words sweet-you may have to eat them."
Homeroom Discussion Information
- Does teasing happen often at our school?
- If someone is talking about another person behind his/her back and what he/she is saying is accurate, is it OK? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
- Does the information have to be untrue for it to be hurtful?
- How do you feel about yourself when someone catches you making fun of him/her?
- How do you think that other person feels?
- Would you want to be friends with someone who had a reputation for making mean and cruel comments about others?
- Do you think you are more likely to earn friends by being kind or by making funny, yet unkind, comments about others?
- What are some reasons that people make fun of other people?
- How can you stand up to a friend who is saying mean things about someone?
- Imagine that the narrator gets to the bathroom and finds out that Anna is upset about something totally unrelated. Should she still apologize to Anna? Why or why not?
- The narrator and Lindsey feel like they have a right to laugh at Anna because she wants to be their friend, but they don't want to be hers. By pretending to be friends with her, are they actually sparing her feelings?
- Should they feel obligated to like her just because she likes them?
- If someone likes you a lot, but you don't feel the same way, do you have to be his/her friend? If not, how can you deal with the situation in a way that is still loving and kind?
Five tips for maxim-izing your family time
- Be honest with your kids. Tell them about a time that you chose to or not to make fun of someone else and how your decision made you feel about yourself.
- Share a story-you can use an example of a time that gossip hurt you or that you hurt someone else or a relationship by gossiping and making fun.
Encourage your children to "walk in someone else's moccasins" for a change. When you hear a story on the news, around the dinner table, etc., ask them to imagine what the people involved must be feeling.
- Remind your children how much you believe in them. You are probably tempted to gossip in your workplace or even by friends, so you may have a sense of what they go through.
- Let your child know that you believe that they can make the right choice-even when there is a lot of pressure.
- "Keep your words sweet-you may have to eat them."
- Caring-I recognize that my actions affect others and I try to do what is best for them.
- Concern for others-I care about others and want them to be happy.
- Empathy-I am able to see the world through others' eyes and feel what they are feeling
- Compassion-I am willing to enter into the suffering of others and I try to ease their pain.
- Love-I strive to do what is best for others because I care deeply about them.
- Decency-I behave in a way that is consistent with the values of my community and its ideals.
- Humility-I realize that I am not perfect; I am able to acknowledge my faults and wrongdoings, and I try to make them right.
- What did you think of the story that was read at school today?
- Do you think that teasing is a big issue at your school?
- Do you think that adults act that way?
- How would you feel if you found out that a teacher or a coach was making fun of you in the teachers' lounge?
- Is that situation different from students talking about each other in the hallways or on the phone?
- What is the best way to react when someone around you starts to make fun of other people?
- Imagine that one of your friends starts saying mean things about you. How would you want your other friends to respond?
- Do you have the courage to take a stand when one friend is talking behind another friend's back?
- How can we, as your parents, help you have the courage to stand up for others (those who are not present) when someone starts to gossip about them?
- Words Can Heal Homepage
- Don't Laugh At Me-Teacher Page
- The Columbia Encyclopedia: Stephen Grellet
Be sure to acknowledge the courage your children show in talking with you about these issues.
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