Giving kids an opportunity to live up to expectations

The question that arises again and again as we build beds at Albany High School is roughly this: Aren’t you worried that disrespectful kids will trample whatever you try to grow?

The beds near the North Main Avenue entrance to the school grounds, across from the Albany Youth Soccer fields, are quite exposed. Beyond squirrels, however, they have drawn no unwanted attention in their first year. NoNew garden bedw we are setting up closer to the building, by the phys ed parking lot. The shortest distance between two points that students could visit might be right through our cabbage.

So to address the recurring question: Without a doubt, something frustrating and annoying definitely could happen. Students or other kids can be disrespectful (same could be said for full-fledged adults). On the other hand, maybe we can foster respect for surroundings and care for a community by building something worthy of respect and care and then make every effort to tell all those suspicious youths under 90 or so that these garden beds belong to them. In other words, rather than conveying expectations that they’ll disappoint again, give our friends an opportunity to live up to the great things we expect of them.

Isn’t that what teaching is all about? Any harm in trying?

—Bill Stoneman

 

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