My 1st question was “What is the overall mood, attitude, and atmosphere of this county and the people in it?”. I asked these questions in about 13 separate classes (the school has a period schedule) totaling about 250 different students.
For the most part, their responses were somewhat of the following: depressing, lazy, ignorant, boring, nosy, rude, impoverished, and the list goes on and on. There was an overwhelming amount of negativity.
I had only 2 students speak up and say something like “There’s still some good people here”. Those 2 students were a breath of fresh air for me.
The 2nd question I asked was “Why is it like this type of mood and atmosphere here?”.
They eventually spoke up saying something like the following: it’s always been like this, people are too much into drugs, people just don’t care, the teachers here don’t teach, and the negativity list goes on and on.
After reviewing what the overall mood/attitude was and the why for it, I asked my 3rd question. Now, this question absolutely dumbfounded the students. I laugh now when I think of the look on their faces.
The question I asked was “How could we “fix” these issues or better yet improve on the overall attitude and atmosphere in this school and county?”.
Some said to rid those who were the “problem”. I pursued that response with more questions. Basically, I asked them from the sound of their responses if they wanted to be a dictator and start another genocide.
After I summarized all their responses I asked if they really wanted to know how to “fix the problems”. With puzzled looks on their faces I told them tangible wisdom I hope they apply in their lives of how to address the problems we agreed on.
You set the tone.
The change starts with you.
If all you do is focus on the negative, then you’ll have a gloomy outlook on your circumstances and those around you.
The negativity will spread like a virus and bring others down around you.
You decide how to act, react, speak, and discipline yourself.
Be the change you want to see.
It’s not “impossible” to change the mood.
Why can’t you focus on the positive?
Speak life and not death.
Punch negativity in the face…figuratively.
We hurt others, because we’re hurt ourselves from something else.
Hurt people hurt people.
Let things go.
If you’re acting in generous ways and speaking to others in positive ways, they will notice and enjoy you more than if you were negative.
Out of all the classes I was asking these questions in, I “went off” in a specific one. What I mean is that I raised my voice as if I was at a football game (those of you who’ve been at games with me understand).
Let me explain. A certain student was berated a teacher on how horrible they were. I asked why they thought this. They couldn’t give me a solid reasoning. Now, I do understand that some teachers at times seem very unrealistic or are what us Health & PE majors call “ball rollers”.
Anywho, this student kept being mean in their words, and other students were agreeing with what was being said. It hit a nerve of mine.
In my loud voice I said something like this… “All you’re doing is speaking death right now! Do you realize we have the power of speaking life or death in our words?! If all you do is speak death, then nobody will want to be around you! How about this for example to be more clear on what I mean…I think you’re absolutely a pathetic excuse of a human being! Stupid! Scum of the earth with no purpose! …or I can say… I think you’re great looking, you have a brilliant mind, and a fantastic future ahead of you! Which would you rather listen too!? Do you understand?!”
This is a simple example how I’m setting the tone, raising the bar, and loving on these kids in this specific community so that it may grow and become a healthy environment rather than one that wants to tear itself apart.
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat it's fruit."
- Proverbs 18:21
p.s. The title was told to me by a 7 year old of what “cool” meant. If all we teach others is how to be negative in order to build up our self-esteem, then we’re going backwards as a society.