Tell the positive news as well

By ERICA BOYD COLUMNIST,

Wednesday while in the middle of an engaging lesson, I pulled out my phone, asked this student for his parent’s number, I called the number,and put it on speaker phone.

You should have seen the look of suspense and uneasiness on not only his face but also on all the other students’ faces.

When his mom answered, I said, “May I speak to the parent of Jalen?”

The parent responded, “Yeah, I am his parent” in a “what has he done now” voice.

I proceeded, “I am Ms. Boyd, the librarian at A.B. Hill and I have him here in the library no....”

The parent  interrupted me, “Yeah, what has he done?”

I continued, “Well, this is what he has done- he has been highly engaged this school year, he has been well behaved this school year, he has been very respectful this school year. I know I called you a lot last year with “not so good” news, but Jalen has done a 180. It has been a complete joy teaching him and I wanted to let you know.”

There was a loooonng pause...

Finally, she responded in a voice that sounded as if she was holding back tears, “Ms. Boyd, thank you so much for calling. We needed that! We are soooo proud. Tell Jalen to keep it up.”

I responded, “You can tell him. You’re on speaker phone.”

She said, “Jalen, I am sooo proud. I love you.”

Unexpectedly, the whole class started clapping, which made me teary-eyed.

Those uneasy and suspenseful looks had been replaced with the biggest grins. His little light face had turned completely red.

Educators, make it a habit of calling parents with positive news.

So many times we are so quick to call home when a child has NOT...and slower when the child HAS. Not that children should be constantly commended for being children, but too often the children who are not behaving as children get too much attention and drain our energy.

And check this, since Wednesday, I have had “problem students” to ask me, “If I do better, will you also call my moma  on speaker phone.”

Of course, I will. Of course, I will.

Educators, switch your focus. Encourage positive behaviors. Stop going home stressed and drained because you spent the entire day yelling, punishing, and disciplining. I promise you that when you encourage positive behaviors, the impact will be greater.

And to those who are not educators, I have learned that the things we “feed” in life, survive...and the things we “starve” in life, will eventually die.

With that being said, the more attention we give negativity, the more it continues to grow and drain our energy. On the contrary, when we make a conscious effort to only give our attention to positivity, it multiplies. Even in a room full of  negativity, there is still some positivity! Yeah, you may have to look a little harder, but it is there.

Choose positivity over negativity...choose to compliment rather than criticize...choose to uplift rather than tear down. It not only makes the recipients feel awesome but it makes us, the givers, feel awesome as well.”

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