It’s that time of year – timelines are full of tiny tots and proud parents. Schools are teaming with teachers headed to do the important work of expanding young minds. Wal-Marts are also littered with ransacked shelves, school zones are full of obnoxious drivers…it’s time to go back to school! Back to school brings out the best in some (read: relieved parents), and the worst in others. While adults are out in the world cutting up, the youngsters are nestled in their classrooms learning some of the basics of being a member of this society.
Classic Rules from the Classroom
Most of us remember being in our elementary classrooms reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning. Perhaps you sang a patriotic song and morning announcements. Then there were classroom rules. In retrospect, at their core, those rules should be common sense and courtesy, but let’s be real. We rarely see them followed in the adult world. In fact, many of us would get demerits for our behavior today. Perhaps it would do us all some good to go back to a simpler time and reintegrate the basics into our everyday doings.
- Follow directions the first time they are given. When we are left to our own devices as adults, we tend to get relaxed in terms of charting our own path. Or we become hesitant to do so, as our fading innocence makes way for fear. But how many lessons do we learn the hard way because we refuse to follow directions the first time? How many blessings have we blocked by refusing to yield to God’s urging? Obedience is a far underrated door-opener.
- Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself. As tempting as it may be to molly whop that young lady who keeps jumping rope on your last nerve, trust me. It is more entertaining to pull up a chair and watch your enemy dig their own grave. Popcorn, anyone?
- Wait your turn to speak/Don’t talk while the teacher is talking. No one likes a conversation hog or a person who talks over others. It’s also rude to talk while someone is up speaking or presenting. True story: I sang at a venue once where most of the room was loud and tipsy. Afterward, lots of people ran up to me and told me they enjoyed my show, but I would have enjoyed performing more if those same people had not talked through my entire set.
- Show respect for property. As a rule of thumb, I believe in returning other people’s property in the same or better condition that I encountered it. But there are so many adults that dog things that don’t belong to them because they are not ultimately responsible for it. There is also an attitude some gain once they begin paying for things that they can treat their property however they want. Not only is this disrespectful, it reeks of ungratefulness and waste. Sidenote: slashing that man’s tires might be satisfying in the moment, but I’ve heard jail food isn’t. It ain’t worth it, sis.
- Play safely. Somewhere along the way, we began to measure “adultness” by risky activity. You only get one body and one life to live, so please value it enough to make wise and safe decisions. A special note for college students and young adults: your legitimacy as an adult is not determined by how much you drink, how many drugs you do, or how much sex you can have. If anything, your maturity is defined by the wisdom of your choices. Please honor God and yourself above the pressures of your peers.
- Sharing is caring. We work hard, day in and day out for the things we need and want, so it’s natural to want to hoard the spoils. But when we understand that everything we have is but for the grace of God, we can give freely, knowing that what He provided once He can provide again! Besides, no one gets anywhere without someone to offer them a hand up somewhere along the way. When you’ve been blessed, pass it on. 6a: Sharing also means taking turns. When in a position of power or influence, know when it’s time to pass the baton and step aside.
- Use good manners. “Please” and “thank you,” go a long way, and “I’m sorry” is a bridge over troubled water. I’m fully grown, but I love how the formality of “sir” and “ma’am” makes the people I encounter stand up a little taller. Good manners are a reflection of gratitude of respect and they are actions that usually take a split second to complete.
- Respect yourself and others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as yourself. When you know who you are, you respect yourself accordingly, and you are secure enough to respect others the same. Create a culture of kindness and common courtesy.
At the end of the day, it’s easy to take for granted those life lessons we learned as children, but we mustn’t forget where we came from. Let’s get back to basics and create a culture of common sense and courtesy.
What are your favorite lessons learned from your childhood? Are you a teacher? Tell us what classroom rules you wish adults would follow!