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Author Topic: Is it our place to correct someone else's kids?  (Read 1014 times) Average Rating: 0
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LizaSymonenko
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« on: May 12, 2010, 11:43:09 PM »


I am sorry that I logged on tonight.  I happened to check my Facebook account and am always surprised and saddened by what the kids are up to these days.

I have friended a number of kids from our parish.  Just now I looked at one of the girl's pages and saw that she had "friends" that were also my students.  I wish I hadn't gone to view her page.

Reading their comments and "walls"...likes, and links, and questions....amazes me.

I always like to think of them as the angels that I see on Sundays...and yet, they are sadly NOT!

The language they use....the conversations they have....  Oh my gosh!  These are Orthodox children!

One girl I have gently reprimanded for writing less than savory words on my "Wall".  She apparently didn't realize what the F in LMFAO stood for...so she apologized...and while she is no longer LMFAO, she is still LMAO.  However, upon my suggestion, she did remove her cellphone number from her page, and thanked me for caring.

These are kids of 10 years of age.  It might be "permissable for teenagers or college aged kids...but, these are 10 year olds!  They shouldn't even know about the things they are commenting on.  I've actually "hidden" a number of them from my page, because I am embarrassed to have their off color comments visible on my own page for others to read.

I never thought I was "old fashioned", but, it is killing me to hear the way these children talk...and WHAT they talk about.

So...how far does a "non-parent" of these children go in correcting their behavior?  As their religion teacher do I have some right, or even responsibility to try to stem the crude and sex based discussions (which are done in the open)?  Where is the boundary?  It's not really "my" business, as they are not "my" kids....and yet, they are my students, and kids who run up to me for a hug in church.  I am so sad, I am almost in tears!

Do their parents know?  Do they care?  Or worse, do they approve? 

This Lent, while standing in a long line for Holy Confession, ahead of me was a student of mine and her parents.  In the corner stands a huge metal container of Holy Water, with a spout.  There are paper cups and trash bin (the cups get burned).  As we stand there the girl gets ansy due to the long wait and eventually finds the Holy Water, gets a cup and proceeds to drink.  Her parents just stand there playing with her hair.  When she disposes of the cup and looks up she catches my eye, and comes over to me.  I gently ask her if she remembered what I taught her about going to Holy Confession/Communion.  She nods yes.  I ask her if she remembers being taught that she is to fast from midnight, which means no food or drink.  She nods yes.  I ask her what was that she just did.  She starts to whine that she was really, really thirsty.  I remind her that next time she's not to drink or eat anything.  She looks remorseful and goes back to her parents.

After Liturgy the parents stop me and tell me they realized that she shouldn't be drinking, but, she was soooo thirsty.  So, while in line for Holy Confession, they see their daughter "breaking" the rules...and think it's okay because she was reallllllly thirsty.  Granted it was Holy Water and not a bottle of Coke, but still...

So, should we really be "hands off"? 

Where is our responsibility to the grapes in the Lord's vineyard?  Should we train them or just let them grow wild?

I am always at a loss as how to proceed in these situations.  I don't want to come off as being pushy...and yet, as their teacher I feel a pull to teach them.

I need your advice.  When I see or read things my students (and these kids are all under 12 years of age) are saying that are against Orthodox morals and ethics, is it my duty, my responsibility, my place to correct them, or should I just let it go?

I don't want to come off as being "self righteous", because I am not.  I realize my own sinful nature.  But, again...these are children.  If they think it's okay to be up all night and discuss immoral subjects, use the words they do, post provacative photos of each other, and are so comfortable with it....what's ahead for them?  Where will they draw the line?  They will burn out and be whithered before they reach 20.  Dried up raisins, not grapes.

Thanks for listening and thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

 
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2010, 11:53:59 PM »

When I was in Atlanta, Presbytera observed some less-than-Christian behavior amongst some of the teenage girls going on. They weren't dressing modest, issues with boys, etc. The problem is the parents weren't much of a deterrent for these things.

The way we handled it was by having a girls retreat where some fun times were scheduled, and then we sat down and had an open chat with them about things like modesty, chastity, etc.

Perhaps now that summer is coming, you could maybe include something in the VBS program at your church for the older kids about how to act on Facebook, swearing, and other things. This way, no one feels singled out, they feel like it's just part of the curriculum, and yet you are still setting the example for them.
 
Just my $.02 Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 12:03:51 AM »

One girl I have gently reprimanded for writing less than savory words on my "Wall".  She apparently didn't realize what the F in LMFAO stood for...so she apologized...and while she is no longer LMFAO, she is still LMAO.  However, upon my suggestion, she did remove her cellphone number from her page, and thanked me for caring.
Funny.  I thought the F in LMFAO meant "Fat".

That said, I wonder how much our culture comes into play here.  ISTM that some cultures are more permissive of communal childrearing than others.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 12:06:42 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 12:16:24 AM »

Last week when I picked up my son, a teenage (15?) mooned the passing school bus.  The car in front of me stopped, and a woman got out and scoulded the boy.  I gave the thumbs up (to the woman, that is).

A neighbor of my ex wife called asking me if my younger  son was with me.  He wasn't.  The neighbor said she had seen him with a crowd of boys much older and up to no good.  His mother signs him out from the afterschool program, and then just leaves him to his own divices. I'm glad someone else is looking out for him.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 12:18:25 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 01:04:40 AM »

LMFAO is your primary example of what shocked you?  Huh Undecided
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 01:30:31 AM »

I would appreciate it if someone corrected my children on points of common decency or propriety. However, I think you really need to pick your battles, otherwise a kid will start to just ignore you or even resent you (I'm saying this not so much for parents, who always have the responsibility to teach their kids the right thing, but about people with less intimate relationships).
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2010, 04:32:01 PM »

just delete her. i would.  i dont like nasty word on my wall.
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2010, 05:18:28 PM »

I too had no idea that the "F" meant anything other than "fat"! I guess I'm really naive or something! laugh

I don't think I would be too hard on a child who is thirsty and drinks some water before communion; otherwise we might scare them away with too much strictness. I don't think children should be held to nearly as strict standards for such things as adults because they are so young and not able to fully understand everything and are not necessarily doing things because they've made a conscious commitment to living a life of holiness and obedience to Christ per say.

I remember being in a sweltering hot church once as a child. Sitting beside my mother in the very back pew beside another mother and her daughters. I pushed the long sleeves of my dress up  to nearly my elbows in an innocent effort to cool down a bit, and this woman shook her finger at me and gave my wrist a slap!!  Shocked It's funny how I've never been able to forget that incident and always think "what business did she have to do that to me?". This may not seem as huge as drinking a glass of water before communion in the Orthodox Church, but in that church it was a comparable "crime".
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2010, 12:04:08 PM »

As a teacher, I am forced to correct the kids in my classroom.  Then, at parent-teacher conferences, I'm sometimes told how out of line I was in a certain instance to correct or reprimand their child when they were clearly being disrespectful, subordinate, etc.  Though I am entrusted with these kids education and the behaviour that they display while in the classroom, I guess I'm just supposed to take it from their little angels.  It's frustrating.

As a rule of thumb, if a child is misbehaving and the parents are around, let the parents take care of it. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2010, 02:55:31 PM »

As a teacher, I am forced to correct the kids in my classroom.  Then, at parent-teacher conferences, I'm sometimes told how out of line I was in a certain instance to correct or reprimand their child when they were clearly being disrespectful, subordinate, etc.  Though I am entrusted with these kids education and the behaviour that they display while in the classroom, I guess I'm just supposed to take it from their little angels.  It's frustrating.

As a rule of thumb, if a child is misbehaving and the parents are around, let the parents take care of it. 

As a parent and spouse of a teacher, I am all for teachers correcting and disciplining kids in school (within reason, of course).  Sometimes those kids who are precious snowflakes at home take on a whole other personality at school.

Granted, though, I agree: If the parents are around, let them take care of it.  It may be worth mentioning, "Hey, your kid is causing some trouble."
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