Monday, 12 May 2014

When Does Sharing Become Bragging?

I have a friend who loves talking about herself.

I don't even think she realises it, or at least doesn't have that intention.

But in saying that I do think she tries to make herself sound or be better than others.

I enjoy hearing about what is going on in her life, and of course want to support her and be excited with her... but it is getting harder when every week there is a new guy that is the love of her life, who she sleeps with straight away, and doesn't understand why they all of a sudden disappear...

Which is a lie... because I flat out tell her, and warn her, and give her advice on how to prevent that. But still this vicious circle continues. Honestly I think she actually enjoys the drama, and victimising herself because then it is the guy's fault and not hers.

Because we are in the same or similar career, she also enjoys telling me about all her new job opportunities and has even laughed and said to me how she will finish her uni degree before me and get all the jobs... yep.

She is the one up friend.

Here are some thoughts and tips on the difference between sharing and boasting.

Being a Good Sharer:
- you pride yourself in being a good listener
- you ask how the other person is first
- you remember details of their life and bring it up, for example 'How did that big presentation at work go?'
- you listen to their stories as much as you tell them your stories
- you use words or sentences such as, 'Wow that is great news!' 'You must be so proud of yourself!' 'How exciting'
- you are actually interested in what the other person has to say
- you are respectful to the other person
- you don't talk negatively about others to make yourself sound better

When Sharing Becomes Bragging:
- you only talk about yourself and/or share your stories
- you do not listen to the other person's stories, or pay attention when they do
- you frequently forget what is going on in their life
- your response to all this is 'but they don't like talking about themselves'... Really? And you know this because you live inside their head?
- you enjoy competition, but it includes the kind where you think you are better than everyone else
- you get jealous when the other person has success
- you try to one up the other person's story of success by fabricating or exaggerating yours

Of course we should all be proud of our successes, but we also should celebrate others.

We are social creatures and love talking about ourselves and what is going on in our lives, but just be mindful that you are engaging in an equal relationship.

Remember, friendship is a two way street, it should not be one way.

Comment below your thoughts and experiences with this.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Who Are Children?


Children have human rights.
(If you don't believe me that children have them, Google it. I dare you.)

They have thoughts, opinions, ideas, and they love to express these.

My background is teaching and human services. I feel I would be lost without my human services side of understanding.

The other day I heard a story from a student teacher whose supervising teacher yelled at a child for not having a book.... and also yelled at a child saying "if you didn't miss school so much then you wouldn't have missed out on having this template and would be able to find it!"

Fair arguments?

Perhaps... but...

This child was 6 years old.

I really hope your mouth is dropped and you let out a huge "GASP" of shock.
If you did not, consider these points:

- The child is 6. six. They are only just learning how to take care of themselves. There is a huge range of their abilities and not all 6 year olds are the same. Some can make their bed, some still wet themselves, some can count to 20, some don't know what their last name is, let alone how to write their first name.

- Is this the second, third, etc. time that this has happened? Do you see or talk to the child's parents/carers? Have you thought that they may not have the book because their family cannot afford it. Or the child's home life could be filled with domestic violence, and no offence dude, but a school book is not on their priority list in that situation. 

- Are there bullies? Does the child's things seem to go missing with no explanation and a look of fear on their face. 

- Yes. Sometimes the dog DID eat their homework. It's a stretch, but even I had a cat that would put numerous puncture holes into any piece of paper I was holding. Because apparently that was my cat's favourite game to play. 

- Is the child sick a lot? Are they always in hospital? Is there a more serious condition to their health, or are they poorly taken care of due to lack of income, lack of support, lack of a caretaker to give them adequate nutrition. Maybe this is why they were away for that extremely important lesson where the others got this template. I know, they are totally going to fail school and fail at life but hey, what are you gonna do. [sarcasm]

I'm sure there could be more scenarios to this situation. And I could have demonstrated way more annoyance and sarcasm...

I thought everyone learnt to put yourself in someone elses shoes. This for me is common sense. I have however realised over the years when I've been teaching children this, that even adults don't have this concept. Is it their fault? Probably not. Because obviously this skill is missing from the lack of someone showing them. We only know what we have seen. 

What are your thoughts on this?

Was the teacher too harsh on the 6 year old? 

I don't think it was ok to talk or deal with the student that way. There should have been more time to explore, or even just take a second to ask, "Why?". I of all people know how teaching can be a stressful job, but in those moments of frustration you should know better than to snap. You are an adult. You know you can give yourself that one deep breath and have a quick think of how to deal with that situation, and it is never to yell and make a child feel awful about themselves and be embarrassed in front of the whole class.

A teacher should be someone they feel comfortable and confident to talk to, share problems with, seek advice, and look to for guidance. You are a role model. There is a teacher-student relationship. And being at school may be the only positive thing in that child's life right now. 

Think twice before treating children however you feel. If you wouldn't talk to or treat a fellow adult a certain way, then you should not do that to a child. My motto with the children I take care of is basically I will treat you how you treat me, which is also reversed. For example, smacking. When I see a parent hit their child, and often it is for the child hitting their sibling, I laugh and wonder how they don't get it. When a child speaks to me rudely or ignores me I pull them up on it by saying "Please don't be rude to me, I listen to you all the time, so that is not fair if you don't listen to me." And guess what? It works every time. 

Stand up for children's rights.