Who Taught You How to Have Hard Conversations?

Today we rumbled. (As Brene Brown likes to call it.)

Or as us common folk may describe it, we had honest and hard conversations.

Believe it or not, our kids are not perfect. Nor are we. Unfortunately, our kids had poor judgement and said hurtful things last week.

But the way our students, families, and teachers responded does nothing but reinforce the profound impact our way of work has.

There were no detentions, referrals, or suspensions. Those don’t fix real problems. They encourage avoidance and falsely allude to “easy fixes”. But nothing can be farther from the truth.

Real “fixes” come from honest conversation and moving through the murky waters together. From approaching hard conversations with accountability and empathy. And from learning how to move forward.

As I sit here exhausted but proud of our Indi-ED families, students, and teachers, I have to wonder…

Who taught you how to have hard conversations? Who taught you how to solve real problems respectfully?

I’ll speak for myself when I say, no one taught me.

I knew very young when things were wrong and when things were right. But in large classes and with a family whose best approach was to avoid and shame you for wanting to have those hard conversations, I learned how NOT to have those conversations. Which I think is true for so many kids and adults in our culture and around the world.

Which is why we’re so appreciative of the time and space that we’re allowed to make to actively teach our kids how to navigate those things because we all will have to deal with them at some point in our lives.

As adults, it’s clear those who have learned those skills and who have not.

If children and adults are around people who get defensive, avoid, respond rudely to, or are derogatory in the tough times-they learn those same unhealthy behaviors until they’re ready to break those cycles for themselves and hopefully land in an environment where that’s supported.

But if you’re some of the lucky ones who have people around them who approach hard times like our Indi-ED Family, then you get to model and teach kids how to navigate them.

We made the time to have the conversations. We took the opportunity to look each other in the eye and communicate no matter how uncomfortable it may have felt. We remained empathetic to how our words and actions could impact others.

We’ve made the space and taken the time to put our ELA lessons on the back burner this week to teach our kids things that they need in this moment and will need for the rest of their lives. How to apologize, the impact of positivity on themselves and one another,  how to positively connect with others, the need for empathy, and the impacts of discrimination and racism. Yes, we need to go there.

You might be wondering, wouldn’t it have been easier to not share or acknowledge a misstep publicly? Of course.

Doesn’t Brene Brown remind us to share with those we trust? You bet.

But when people of all kinds are reading this blog and watching and learning from what we’re doing, we find it an honor and a responsibility to share the way that we deal with the highs and the lows. We know that builds trust and integrity and we’re happy to share challenges and our solutions. They’re all what make us different.

Our kids were comfortable expressing emotion. They listened. They didn’t respond negatively. They connected and were accountable. All thanks to one REALLY strong teacher and very supportive families, we will all grow in a positive direction from here.

Have a great week all, even if you do have to rumble.

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