Blog Your Blessings: Silence

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This week's blessing is quiet. I thrive in, on, and around quiet.

For every good moment with the low-performing middle-school kids I work with, there are moments of mystery that are as sheer as they are frustating. I wonder what makes a 12-year-old girl so angry all the time that her first thought is to strike out at me when I greet her in the morning. I wonder why some boys of the same age derive pleasure from interrupting my classes by asking to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes. I am dumbfounded by the kids who won't even bring a pencil to my class, and when I give them one, break the point and insist they can't work.

So many ghetto kids know anger as a way of being. There is no source, no reason for it; it simply is, and they live it. They respond to kindness the way they respond to a slap in the head because they-- What? Aren't used to it? Don't trust it? I don't honestly know.

I guess that I am a part of a thing called school that is part of a world they are convinced in beyond them. Rather than seeing opportunity, they see-- What?

At the other end of the day, I tutor kids preparing the the SAT. They are on time, interested, engaged, fun. And they are doing well.

Why the difference? I don't know. I do know I can't quite find the answers in the din of the day, that I need the silence. I am grateful to find it at the end of every day.

Blog Your Blessings

Comments

  1. Breath in, breath out. Silence is a wonderful and wise instructor.

    Hang in there and be strengthened, Sandy. You certainly have your hands full!

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  2. So many questions. Not enough answers. What I DO know is that we can't answer them all. We do our best.

    I so wish you could teach my son. You care so much about each and every student that crosses your path and this is so evident in your writing. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. Don't ever stop. There will be a kid somewhere that will appreciate it and may one day tell you. If you help only one, it is all worth it. Just don't stop.

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  3. Aww..be strong, Sandy. You can handle it, but I can't imagine what it must be like. My niece teaches in an inner city school in Houston, I think I told you before. I don't know how she does it, but God bless you both - Peace - D

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  4. As a teacher i know exactly what you are talking about. i guess it is they have lost their hope. They assume that no matter what opportunities they have they will end up exactly where their parents are and that grows in them an anger at the world.

    Teaching in the 3rd world is a totally different story,. these chn many who have little, have a joy and a love of life and learning - wish i could bottle it and send it to you!!

    They will remember you and they will remember your kindness and you will make a difference!!

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  5. Your sky watch photo looks like a VERY peaceful place and a nice place to spend time.

    Your question as to why some children see things the way they do? I think it always falls back to the parents and what kind of attitude they have about life. Very sad that they choose to be negative. But, I do know they are lucky to have you for a role model.

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  6. The picture really fits this post. I think kids can be encouraged, and sometimes it takes just one certain person to help develop a change in their attitudes.

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  7. i think it's in the way their parents took care of them.

    the parents role is very important. to be with them is important. to make them grow obedient and responsible is essential.

    but no matter how good the parents are, if they are surrounded with friends who are into living a careless and angry life, then it's useless.

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  8. teaching youth is frustrating...you can't make up for what their environment/parents/culture has taught them. but just try to be a good example and love them. that's all you can do.

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  9. That looks really silent and meditational photo.

    They take it all with anger but it´s just because that´s the only way they have learned. It´s a real gift from childhood that you can talk with people without getting angry. Not to expect the worst from the people you talk to.

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  10. I'm a teacher. I face such kids everyday for the past 18 years. I don't understand too after all these years. I spend time with them, trying to understand their problems, trying to help... but they are reluctant to get help. Only when they are behind bars, they would come to me for help. It is sad and I have no solution. I have no peace...

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  11. I think they really crave the attention they don't get from home so act out to get that attention, not knowing that they could have it by being in your class and trying their best. I have my blessing posted but it is scheduled so come and see what else I have for today. Hope you are having a great weekend.

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  12. That's the reason why, you get a so calming view at home.
    I think they don't KNOW even UNDERSTAND kindness. That's a feeling they don't know how to respond.
    With treasures of kindness you'll manage to "tame" the most discerning ones. And it will be a great reward and joy feeling for you.

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  13. Silence IS a blessing, around us and within. Not always easy to find, in either place--that photo's a wonderful choice.

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  14. It is good that you help these children, but we are born the way we are you will never change us. I am dyslexic and hated my school life we are all different. The best thing beautiful people can do is have children of their own!

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  15. Anonymous6:48 AM

    This, an interesting post, to me, a one-time teacher who escaped the looney tune jump suit by moving on with my life and remembering teaching as a learning experience for me. I just posted about this on my Canon Pixels blog.

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  16. You are such a thoughtful person, Sandy. The kids are so lucky to have you - the middle school kids and the kids studying for the SATs. Take you silence and revel in it and become strong for when you have to go out into the "din." :)

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  17. So often anger is a result of a feeling of uselessness, of lack of meaning, community.
    Of course, whilst this may be a reason, it is not an excuse. There are many in such circumstances who rise above it.

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  18. wow... it must be hard to be in that kind of environment where kids are sad and hurt inside and become angry easily... you seem like a really strong person to have great patience and compassion for them, sandy. you are a blessing to them :)

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  19. It takes a special person to continue doing something they love when greeted with such anger.

    You may be the only kind adult she sees in her day and this is her way of making sure you don't ignore her. It is unfortunate that kids so young have no problem being disrespectful. It is scary.

    Take a deep breath and know that you are doing everything you can.

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  20. silence and kindness are somehow related in this case. wish you wisdom!

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  21. I think, Sandy, that it isn't as much anger sometimes with these children as it is jockeying for a position of power. I think it is one of the more base sides of human nature to desire to have power over something or someone. If we are well-centered and feel loved and have positive influences in our lives, this need disappears. But the inner-city kids often have none of those things so, to them, having power over you, even for a second, validates their existence and makes them feel important and worth something. It is sad. Because they don't care that having power over you or the entire class takes that power AWAY from you and the class. It's sad that they have the need to do it. You just wish you could say, "Join in the beautiful flow of the world around you, and draw strength from THAT, and you won't need to bellow loudly and be heard, at the expense of everyone else." Peace, it must be hard won in your situation! I have so much respect for you, hanging in there the way you do.

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  22. Anonymous7:15 PM

    A sad visual of your students. I hope you can inspire them to blieve in hope.

    I too enjoy the quiet.

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  23. sometimes all it takes is one good teacher to make a difference. The kids you teach are lucky to have one!

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  24. Those kids don't know how to thank you, and probably don't realize how lucky they are to have you. I admire your perseverence in a situation that offers few rewards.

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  25. Having had four children, I have seen both sides in my own kids. :(

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  26. Beautiful post as are all I've read. I've never realized that silence is a blessing.

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  27. And your photos show us the perfect place to enjoy the silence! I glad you have those places to go and that you share them with us. I wonder if the kids at school have such a place to find their silence?

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  28. Anonymous3:20 AM

    You deserve the oasis of quiet. And beauty! Bless you for your patience and endurance. Your life is an example to those angry kids, and while you might not know the outcomes, you do make a difference! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog this weekend. See you around!

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  29. Your sky watch photo is quiet and peaceful and a nice place to spend time considering and thinking things through. Thank you for sharing with sky watch friday.

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  30. A love of silenced based on stress... or quiet needed to contemplate the issues of the day... or is there a difference?

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  31. They probably have to much emotional and survival issues going on at home to have the energy left to pay attention in school. It has nothing to do with you. If there is lashing out to you it is only because they know you are a safe person to do this with; as they know to express that frustration somewhere else will only make their life far worse. I don't think it is their choice to do so; it may be that they will not be able to pay attention until they are out of their present situations.

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  32. This reminds me of my first job out of college, working as a school assistant at a domestic violence shelter hidden deep in an inner city. I was determined never to raise my voice to these kids, so many of whom had been raised in violent surroundings. But I soon learned that many of them simply could not hear my regular speaking voice. It was as though they were so accustomed to being shouted at that they had become deafened, and unable to hear anything under a certain decibel level. This weird "deafness" would eventually wear off: if only I got to keep them for long enough I could start lowering my voice more and more. But some came and went with a flash and a bang. I always sent prayers after them, that they and their families would eventually know peace. But yes, back to the practical, it is very hard on the teacher in the moment! More power to you!

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  33. Amen! Remaining open-hearted, centered and focused in the presence of today’s teens required ME to spend time in meditation in the morning and evening … always. Beautiful image here! God bless you for the work you do with and for your students, their families, and the world.
    Hugs and blessings,

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  34. Anonymous9:25 PM

    Sandy, you dedication to these children is remarkable.

    I am a teacher and I can empathize with you though I must say our students here in our country are "behaved" and show respect to the teachers.

    May you be encouraged more to help your students with life lessons that will help them as they grow older.

    P.S. I came for the WW but I decided to leave a comment here.

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  35. Anonymous2:25 PM

    It is amazing the way kids can behave...and how they can be so good in one environment and so bad in another...I guess they really do feed off the bigger people in this world...some of who just don't set very good examples.

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  36. That's why I am not a teacher. I would never know how to handle that what you describe.
    So good that you have silent time. Whenever I go to nature for silence and solitude, I ask God to give every person in the crowded world such opportunities and places to be quiet and alone, in beauty. But it's not possible, I suppose.
    Keep up your good work(s), Sandy.
    Shalom, peace, to you.

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