A week before the end of this school year, our five-year-old grandson Spencer came bouncing into a family birthday party and announced that he was ‘almost in grade one’ and his older brother was ‘almost in grade two’. I chalked this up to his precocious personality. I later found out that they had received their year-end report cards and indeed they were moving up to the next grade this fall. Both boys love school.
His parents smiled. Often the reports that they get from the school regarding these rambunctious boys make them wonder if the teachers are referring to their children. The teachers report curious young minds eager to learn, an attitude that demonstrates openness to helping other students, individuals who are friendly to everyone and always compliant with assignments. This is not always the behavior exhibited at home.
My mother used to refer to this as our upstairs manners and our downstairs behaviour. Children learn quickly what is acceptable in specific situations. What is the established code of conduct. Children usually rise to the occasion. This however does not happen only organically. It is the result of the influencers who shape the environment of these leaders of tomorrow. The before and after school staff who provide a calm and consistent start and end to the school day. The teachers who know the individual characteristics and strengths of their numerous students. All the bus drivers and crossing guards like Cathy at Suddaby School who ensure safe passage with a smile during the vagaries of Canada seasons.
This positive influence can continue throughout the life of students. It is sometimes paid forward by these same students to those who follow them. At the June Regional Council meeting, a group of Bluevale Collegiate students and the teachers who run a Leadership Course were honoured for their work with the Ground Water Festival at Doon Heritage Crossroad. For over 20 years, this Festival has created awareness in thousands of students instructing them on how to be good stewards of our environment as part of their educational journey. The audience at Regional Council was packed with proud parents who came to see their students acknowledged for the leadership they provide their through volunteering.
It does take a village to raise a child. Congratulations to everyone (especially those supportive parents) who make sure it is a safe and interesting journey.