When to Speak Up

Sharing a concern should be done thoughtfully and reasonably, be appropriately timed, and be done with an openness to hear additional information. Rarely has someone expressed a concern (after doing so in the manner above) to an honest, concerned leader or supervisor and had reason to regret doing so.

Many people, however, have regretted not expressing a thoughtful, reasonable concern when it becomes clear they had ample cause for doing so.

Many have also regretted sharing concerns with multiple other individuals, everyone except for the individual who could actually do something about it.

So let’s remember that if you see something that threatens the safety or well-being of children, say something to the person who can fix it.

If you see something that appears unfair, say something to the person who can fix it. But be open to additional information that may alter your original impression.

If you see something that can be done better, say something to the person who can initiate change while understanding there may be aspects to a situation you may not yet know.

We tell our students and put in our handbook the procedure for students to address things they feel were not fair. We are open to students seeking out a teacher or staff member and asking for a minute to talk. We are open the child calmly and thoughtfully explaining what he or she thought was unfair and why.  And we will promise to listen and attempt to understand their concern and respond appropriately.

We believe teaching children how to speak to an adult when the circumstances are less than perfect is a VITAL LIFE SKILL. We might be tempted to say, “My child is too shy. He could never talk to his teacher.” But we say, come with him and help him practice in preparation. Allow him to do the talking, to answer questions, to express his viewpoint. But allowing him to dodge learning this skill will put him at a disadvantage throughout his life and lead to more difficult relationships.

Jesus was all about speaking directly to people because he knew that this was the best way for humans to communicate and resolve differences. He had some uncomfortable talks with people so he is not calling us to anything he did not do himself.

In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd

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