Teaching Important Lessons In And Out Of The Classroom

John-KneibBy John Kneib, Mayor of Pennsauken Township

Summer is quickly moving into fall and our community is officially in “back to school” mode.” For the most part, our young people are relatively excited to get back to class. While there’s some mixed opinions on homework and projects, children can’t wait to see their friends and start another year of learning. And we all know that their parents are excited that school is starting again, too. So as the kids get back into the school routine, our Pennsauken community should as well.

First, we all know that traffic in the morning is going to be a little more challenging with all of the school buses. But the job of these bus drivers is to make sure children get to school safely. There will also be some kids walking to school. Please keep an eye out for them. Sometimes they do seem like they come out of nowhere. By being patient behind the wheel and leaving a little extra drive time in the morning and afternoon, these school-related traffic delays won’t impact your weekdays as much.

For parents and guardians of school age children, it’s vital for them to support their kids in all aspects of their education. Being there to help with extracurricular activities, like sports and clubs, is fantastic; but it is equally important – if not more so – to assist with the academic pursuits at home as well. I realize that for many, this is preaching to the choir, but this is a message that can’t be stressed enough. Children look to the special people in their lives for guidance and support. We cannot let them down.

And finally, it is extremely important to realize that learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings at the end of the day. Whether you have children in school or not, you’re teaching our young people lessons every day. These kids are pretty bright. They’re watching as you interact with other adults, when you’re trying in vain to find a convenient parking space close to the supermarket. They see how you treat your neighbor down the street who sometimes plays their music too loud. And they can’t help but overhear the conversation you’re having on your cell phone about your obnoxious co-worker.

So what are we teaching our young people with our actions? Our words? With how we treat other people? There are some days, when we’re not at the top of our games, where we’re not going to like the answer. It really does happen to everyone. But instead of dwelling on how we’re teaching our young people NOT to act, let’s instead focus on being positive role models. Let’s show patience instead of frustration; compassion as opposed to anger; and generosity to replace selfishness. Let’s put down our phones, walk away from our computers, and turn off our TVs. Spend time with our young people. Volunteer to help our youth. Show them that you care. By doing so, we’re building the foundation of the next generation of successful adults who lead by examples of compassion and commitment to community.

On behalf of myself and the entire Pennsauken Township Committee, I wish you and your loved ones a great start to the school year.

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