Last week, I was introduced to a handful of tiny gentlemen at Northfield Elementary. Each one of them donned a polo or dress shirt and a tie, respectfully showing off their sharp fashion. Then they proceeded to march into the lunch area and got to work, some helping scan lunch cards, others helping to clean tables and dishes, still others seating their classmates in the proper places.
There were no complaints. There were no dragging feet. In fact, every single one of these little men were excited to help out, looking for the next person for whom they could squirt ranch on their trays for the vegetables.
I must say, it was pretty adorable seeing these small waiters in their ties and dress clothes. But I was more impressed with the fact that they were excited to put on their ties, excited to work and excited to serve their peers.
Sometimes in this day and age, it feels like young people don’t value the importance of good manners, respect and volunteer work as much. Many parenting blogs and informal surveys have said as much — today’s children are just less polite than those before them.
However, seeing the gentlemen at Northfield Elementary gave me hope for future generations, especially for the youth at Northfield. They are not just being taught about respect, they are putting it into practice.
I applaud Principal John Wiedeman for noticing the need for a group that lifted up young boys and helped them learn to respect themselves and others. That’s exactly what has been missing in so many communities.
So many people seem to complain about the rudeness of today’s children, but what they don’t realize is psychologists have said that children model behavior that they witness around them.
I mean, look around at the polarized world they are growing up in. If we can’t respect others, how can we expect children to do so? So instead of complaining about how awful kids are today, we should be showing them how great they can be, by modeling respect properly.
The Bulldog Ambassadors after school club, which the Northfield gentlemen are a part of, was a great idea to not only start helping boys put these ideas of respect and politeness into practice, but to also begin the conversation of how to teach children respect. It all starts with us and how we act in front of them.
I was glad to hear that Mr. Wiedeman will be continuing the newly formed club in the coming years, but I challenge everyone to join in his mission and begin modeling respect for the children of the community. The saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Let’s help raise these children well.