Glass Half Full: Kids who say ‘thank you’
Special to the Bonanza
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The first time I visited Lake Tahoe School, one of the traditions that struck me most forcefully was that our students actually thank their teachers after each class, especially in the middle school, where they move around more.
They stand up, they push in their chairs, and as they leave the room, they look their teachers in the eye and say, “Thank you, Mr or Ms…”
Why does this happen? I think it’s a function of our Honor Code, which, in essence, calls for “honesty, integrity, and respect.”
The Code itself is longer than that, and most members of our community can’t quote the entire thing, but even our littlest understand what honesty, integrity, and respect mean.
We talk a great deal about the essential expectation of mutual honesty, integrity, and respect. We do not expect behavior from our students that we don’t model ourselves.
As a result, and because the parents who commit to a Lake Tahoe School education are drawn to our values, our culture is one that is unusually empathetic and considerate.
Not every minute, not every occasion, given that we range in age from three to 14 and are human, but we operate from a platform that recognizes and stresses the value of our relationships and their inherent mutual trust.
The value of such modeling and relationships has featured strongly in my thoughts lately, as our local churches have struggled with ongoing vandalism that has affected all of them at some point.
The destruction started over Easter weekend, and the latest was directed at St. Francis of Assisi and The Village Church, with more than $50,000 damage at St. Francis, including smashed stained glass windows.
The messages spray-painted on walls were hate-filled and anti-religion. Clearly they are a reflection of somebody — or somebodies — filled with anger and confusion.
In my experience, such hatred stems from fear. In this ongoing case, what I cannot help but wonder is whether the person(s) involved has never been treated with honesty, integrity, and respect.
Our Incline Village community, especially the churches, has responded to what many are reasonably referring to as “hate crimes.”
It is shocking and personally disturbing to find one’s home, personal or faith, attacked. It is easy and natural to respond from the same base of fear that likely motivated the offender(s) in the first place.
In the days following the latest attacks, however, the church communities and other interested citizens have gathered together to share mutual support and to try to find understanding for whoever is behind this vandalism.
The response has not been to seek revenge, but rather to act with compassion and generosity.
This attitude, while faith-based for many, needs no religious connections. It is all about honesty, integrity, and respect.
I hope our children are watching, listening and learning. I hope we are all able to say “thank you” to our local leaders who are acting with such integrity.
Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at http://www.laketahoeschool.org.