One of my “normal” children goes to a school where there are two important staff members: One that he sees daily, and one that he has less contact with. From the beginning of this year (when he entered this school) the first staff member has been pretty positive, and the second rather negative. Not that the first found nothing to complain about, but he did so in a way that showed that he believed in the boy.
Unfortunately, the second staff member has been almost universally negative. He has never contacted us with positive information, only with negative.
My son commented that all the boys in the school know that this teacher will see the good in boys that he is inclined to, and the bad in those whom he is prejudiced against. This suddenly reminded me of something that I had noticed when the children were younger, and I shared it with my son:
I had noticed that if a child had misbehaved, I was much more inclined to label any rambunctious behavior negatively (“he’s starting up with me”, “he’s being sassy…”). And if a child had gotten on my good side for some reason, the SAME behavior was likely to be excused or overlooked. In other words: I am likely to see what I expect to.
So this is a challenge to all parents: Even when your child has misbehaved, can you drop the anger and preconceived opinions, and let this child continue the day with a clean slate? [Incidentally, G-d judged Esau when he was with Hagar in the desert as he was THEN, despite his less-than-good future.]
Because if we do not judge them “where they are now”, they will notice that we are not being fair. Woe to us for such a mistake!
And of course I charged my son: If you can be good enough for a while, you will surely move to the second teacher’s “good” list. If you change, so can he.