I love when I have teachable moments with my students. You know, those moments where a slice of real-life is presented as an opportunity to share a piece of knowledge or wisdom that can be applied to everyday life. Anyway, as I was having lunch today with a group of my female students, the topic turned to shows we like to watch on TV.
"My all-time favorite shows are Bad Girls Club and Love and Hip-Hop," one of them said. This was followed by a chorus of "Girl yeah, did you see the one where Chrissy beat up Kimbella?" and "Ooh, how about the one where Kimbella threw that glass at that girl?"
"Wait a minute," I said. "Out of all the shows that could be your favorite, why do you love those two so much?"
"Because they keep it real and they don't take no mess, and if they don't like somebody they do something about it."
Now, I'm not one to judge, because I definitely tune into these shows to watch all the ratchetness and drama unfold. The difference between myself and these girls is that as an adult, I'm able to grasp the fact that these "reality" shows aren't reality at all, and that what I see on my television screen isn't a reflection of how I should behave in real-life.
"So you think keeping it real means being loud, rude, and disrespectful, or going up to somebody and just starting a fight with them because you don't like them?"
"Sometimes," one of them said. "But mostly it means standing up for yourself and not letting people push you around and talk about you no matter what."
While I hate giving my sixth graders lectures, I just couldn't let this one go. And so began my tirade on what real women do.
Real women carry themselves with dignity and respect. Real women know how to express their ideas and communicate their needs and expectations to others without having to curse them out in the process. Real women know that conflict resolution means looking for constructive ways to resolve an issue, not throwing things or putting your hands on people. Real women work hard for what they have, and don't rely on others to give them the things they need or want. Real women realize that their actions have consequences, and they accept responsibility for the choices they make. Real women promote love by lifting others up and not tearing them down. Real women...
I stopped when I realized the futility in what I was doing. Trying to explain something so important to a group of 12 year olds was like pouring water into a bucket with several small holes. The words would stay there for a little while, but eventually they would end up leaking out onto the ground.
No, I couldn't explain this one with words. The best way to teach them about real women was to continue being one. Hopefully, something will rub off in the process. In the meantime, maybe I can persuade them to watch more Disney Channel and less VH1...LOL