On the Importance of Listening to Others


This week I had the distinct privilege of accompanying the 4th grade class on a field trip to meet with Senator Van Hollen. As part of their government unit, our students have been learning about how our democracy is organized and about the importance of civic engagement. During their meeting with the Senator, they got a chance to ask him about how he takes into account the many diverse views of his constituents when he makes decisions and how he manages situations when people disagree. The Senator spoke of the importance of respectful debate and of really hearing the points of view of many to truly live up to the motto “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one). He also advised them of the many ways that, even before they can vote, kids can make a difference in both our democracy and their communities. Later this week, during an advisory lesson on solving “village dilemmas” and on the difference between being a good “leader”  versus being “bossy,” the kids and I were able to reflect on how some of the things that the Senator was saying were also relevant to their own lives!

– Dr. Parker

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