A couple of weeks ago, we almost got a snow day. It was so close that every county around us got out of school for the day, but then it ducked and went south. Birmingham apparently got a very nice coating! Our school district made the correct call to have school because literally nothing happened. The point of all of this is that the social media realm went absolutely insane because the county had not called off school by 9 p.m. the night before. The district's Facebook page updated at 9 p.m., saying: "We've been in contact with local and regional officials regarding weather and road conditions. We plan to have school on schedule in Williamson County tomorrow. Should we need to make any adjustments to that schedule, we will call in the morning." Over a thousand comments were made, most of which so unbelievably disrespectful that I just could not believe it. Students hoping that the superintendent died in a car accident on his way to school. Threatening to sue the district. Even parents were leaving nasty comments. I found out the next morning that they (PARENTS!) also left voicemails on the superintendent's phone laced with profanity.
I was appalled.
In this day and age, with the massive amount of social media that children are exposed to, it's no wonder that children and teenagers cannot comprehend the weight of their actions. They hide behind usernames and supposed anonymity but don't understand (or choose to forget) that everything they do online is trackable. EVERYTHING! If you really think about it, that should scare you to death.
I miss the days of respect.
I was raised to respect my parents, which means listening to them. I was raised to respect all of my elders, which includes principals and superintendents. I was raised to respect the rules, which means following them (even if you don't like them). I was raised to respect myself, which means not posting half naked pictures of myself on Instagram.
Being in the classroom gives me an amazing opportunity to assist parents in instilling the value of respect into their children. People learn respect by being respected themselves and then holding them accountable to it after they know what it is. Instilling respect is not a one-person job. All of us have a part to play. You are not too old to learn how to respect and be respected. You are not too old to learn how to treat people decently. You are not too old to learn how to hold your tongue. You are not too old to learn how to follow the rules.
I challenge you to be respectful and demand to be respected yourself. If we all do this, online and in real life, this world will be a better place.