I'll just share briefly here, but I have a few thoughts I would like to discuss as a class on Thursday.
I love Granma and Granpa's reaction when Little Tree returns from the mountain after avoiding the law and saving the still. "They didn't come up the trail but stood and watched as I come along with the dogs. I felt good about it. I still had my fruit jars and had not broke any of them. Granma set the lamp down and knelt to meet me. She grabbed me so hard, she nearly made me drop my fruit jars....Granpa said that he couldn't have done any better hisself....Granpa said I might wind up being better'n him. Which I knew wasn't likely, but I was proud he said it. Granma never said anything. She toted me the rest of the way home. But I could of made it, more than likely" (p. 75).
Being a parent, having worked with parents as a teacher and a coach, and having interacted with parents in a variety of social and church settings, it is interesting to ponder how many parents would respond in this situation. I believe most would be falling all over themselves apologizing to their child for how difficult the ordeal must have been..."Oh, I'm so sorry you had to go through that, you must have been so scared" or "Daddy will never let that happen again, I'll make sure of that" and "You poor thing, that wasn't fair, that's our fault that things were so rough." These are comments that I think we would hear, along with some sharp words between husband and wife.
The differences in response are enormous in my mind, and may have significant consequences in the development of the child. I believe that Granma and Granpa are developing confidence, resilience, and dare I say...self-esteem in Little Tree. More typical responses, although perhaps well-intended, I fear may cause children to feel a level of entitlement, to view themselves as victims, and may actually decease feelings of self-worth and confidence.
I believe that how we communicate with students, especially when they encounter a challenge or adversity, can have a great impact on their behavior.