Last week we explored the Smithsonian museums again, which we haven’t done in a long time. Even though I love all of the museums, I also love to people watch. Now that I’m not teaching in public schools, I like to watch students, teachers, and their interactions with each other.
As we entered the Museum of American History, we waited in line to go through the security check. I listed to two teenage boys in front of me have a pretty intense conversation. Here it is:
Boy 1: What are they looking for? A bomb?
Boy 2: Don’t even say that word! Don’t joke or act stupid! They take this stuff serious! People have gotten in trouble before for thinking it was funny.
Boy 1: Really?
Boy 2: I’ll tell you more when we get on the bus but for now, just shut up.
Boy 1: Tell me now.
Boy 2: If you are going to be stupid, I’m going to leave. This is not funny and I don’t want to be around you.
Boy 1: (says nothing and just stares straight ahead)
Boy 2: (starts talking about where they might find some lunch after they are done)
I was so proud of Boy 2! I know it must have been hard for him to stand up to his friend but he did. I was also proud of either his parents or teacher or both because someone taught him some common sense. They must have made a true believer out of him. There was no adult to tell them this while we were in line and he was able to put a stop to any nonsense immediately. He was very matter of fact and had a plan of action if he needed it. By acting responsibly, hopefully, he was a role model for the other boy who could learn how to act if he is ever in the same situation. I was so glad to hear this conversation.
Do you talk to your students or your own children about the seriousness of this? What do you say or do to instill responsible behavior when their friends might act irresponsible? Please share.