Adults nod our head at that reality, knowing that it’s just a part of life. We’re “mature” like that.
Students, on the other hand, are still wrestling with realizing this.
We can argue that they haven’t grown up yet like we have, but maybe it’s something else… maybe the reason they struggle with it is because they haven’t yet let go of the idea (like adults have) that such antagonism shouldn’t be a part of life in the first place. They’re still doing a double-take and a triple-take full of shock and awe on something we’ve closed our eyes to.
It’s one of the reasons why I appreciate actor Wil Wheaton’s thoughtful answer to a young girl who spontaneously asked him a question at a Comic Con event. She wondered if he could give her advice how to respond to her peers who call her a nerd.
Take a look at Wheaton’s response, noting the way he serves her through the wording and pace he uses to speak to her:
Any takeaways? For example:
- Notice how Wil doesn’t toss in a lot of “um’s” into his response. He was speaking from a place of conviction. How did he get there? Is this how conversations happen between you and students?
- The audience erupted with affirmation a few times, and other times didn’t. Wheaton didn’t seemed phased (no pun intended) by whether they did or didn’t clap… he obviously wasn’t trying to get their approval but address the girl. Again, is this how you handle what students present your way or are you going for a “high five” reply that makes you look favorable/slick/hip/whatever?
What can we learn from this in the way that we serve students through everyday conversations?