To the Editor:
I once taught with a P.E. teacher who had an idea: put-ups. She used them to teach children how to speak to each other in a supportive manner. Each time a child encouraged another, she wrote what the child said on a piece of paper.
Then she “put up” the sayings around the walls of the gym, giving a visual reminder of how to treat others. As in any grade school, bullying existed. But this wise teacher pointed to the wall and its sayings as a pictorial reminder of appropriate behavior.
Children learn from adults around them. Bullies are still the terror of the playground, especially for those who are most vulnerable. And teachers and parents work to protect children and stop the bullying.
With that in mind, it’s been difficult for me to watch President Trump bully others from his position of power. I’m most concerned because as parents and educators try to teach the fallacy of name calling and bullying. Yet we have a president who does just that on a daily basis.
As a nation, we watched President Trump imitate a disabled reporter and insult reporters on live television. His list of derogatory names for others is long: Skank Clinton (Hilary); Little Rocket Man (Kim Jong-Un); Pocahontas (Elizabeth Warren), or Wacky Jacky (Jacky Rosen).
His inappropriate name-calling on social media or television reaches millions of Americans and others around the world.
What are we teaching our children? If they exhibited the same behavior they would be “talked to” and perhaps given alternative, more appropriate methods for expressing views. Certainly, most adults wouldn’t condone them making fun of or calling others names.
Yet our president does it all the time. And we, as a nation, sit by and let it happen. Perhaps our president should go back to elementary school and learn some put-ups, for he certainly didn’t learn everything there was to know while in kindergarten.
Maybe he was absent for those lessons.
Caroline Pharr Sobolak