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How much effort should we put in to try to change adults?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Mathsteach2, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    I need to engage in a little talk therapy to help with my depression. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this.
    My title needs some qualification, by adults I am referring only to ordinary law -abiding citizens and beyond compulsory school attendance age. By change I mean in their attitudes, prejudices (we all have them), opinions and behavior.
    My father said that he would look after me until I left school, age 15 in those days, but then it went up to 16 and he said d***, I will have to look after you for another year. After that, he said, you get out and work, if you continue to live at home you pay for your keep, and whatever you do you make your bed and you lie in it. If you break the law you can expect to be punished if caught.
    I have never been into punishment, my attitude has always been with adults that if they say or do something with which I disagree, I say good luck to you, you must learn to live with the consequences. During my teaching career, I did what I could with school-aged children, but totally refused to guide them after they became 16. In fact, in my teaching this attitude crept into what I did in my classroom down to infant levels, putting the responsibility of their learning solely onto their shoulders.
    I am laughing now at the state the world is in, as a result of giving adults the responsibility for their own development, which obviously they cannot handle, just as I laughed at older teenagers when I was a youth club leader as they vandalized their club and then sat in the middle of the debris wishing they hadn't.
    lexus300 and elder_cat like this.
  2. elder_cat

    elder_cat Lead commenter

    People need a reason to change - either to benefit themselves in some way, or to avoid an unpleasant outcome. If they see no reason to change, they are content to stay as they are. As far as the younger generation are concerned, I eventually had to acknowledge the truth in the old saying "you can't put an old head on young shoulders". I am sure that some of the students I taught, would have developed a nose bleed and gone weak at the knees, had they been asked to do some of the jobs I had to do as a young man. I always believed authority and accountability must go hand in hand, and having either one on its own is a recipe for disaster.
    Alice K likes this.
  3. Katzenjammer

    Katzenjammer Senior commenter

    The notion that people can change is essentially an illusion. What you can do is decide what kind of life is good enough for you to live in reasonable content, and decide on what changes you could make to facilitate this. Ninety per cent of the time such changes amount to small, manageable adjustments - not so much changing your mind as changing the direction in which it points.
    JosieWhitehead likes this.
  4. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Your father comes across as being a very hard-hearted person. We all need the help and advice of others throughout our lives - yes even at my age and I'm 80 next year. What would I or any of us do without the support, the love and care of others, including their advice, to help us through our lives? I've taught youngsters from 15 years of age upwards in Colleges of Further Education and, my word, they've been glad to bring their problems to me to get some help and advice.
    Dunteachin and Alice K like this.
  5. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    As depressing as this might be, I increasingly think there is no such thing as free will and that we are simply the product of the neuro chemical reactions in our brain. Effectively we are merely strapped in for the ride.
    So whether we should try and change adults, if the external environment causes your neurochemistry to enact in such a way as to effect change so be it.
  6. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    My father was a very hard-working, loving, family man. He simply had no patience for adults who were wasters. Even teachers of 12 or 13 year-olds teach to the ones who are interested, and ignore the rest. If an adult wants to learn or get advice, then that is no problem, but I do not waste my time with the wasters.
  7. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    I guess you didn't teach the hooligans to unicycle ... :)
  8. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    I know you said you teach adults, but I don't think Ofsted, or SLT would accept the idea of 'ignoring' the ones who aren't interested. Nor would colleagues or parents. Many students need you to adjust things for them, perhaps due to SEND, home circumstances etc.
    I agree it would be an easy job if you could just 'teach the ones who are interested, and ignore the rest', but given that you can fail an observation if even one student is off-task, then such a teacher wouldn't last long.
    And some of the ones who are hardest to engage can be the most enthusiastic students, after you've done something to improve things for them-whatever their age.
    Lalad and needabreak like this.
  9. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    It is only when I look back in time, at my late stage of life, that I see so much that was futile both with my own generation and with those before and after me.
    Family and friends make us who we are, I have been blessed with my own family and friends.
  10. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    I cannot think of better reasons to change than observing the state of the world. Climate change, pollution and depletion of natural resources, along with extinction of many animal and plant species immediately spring to mind. I accept that some things are being done like re-cycling and alternative energy sources, but I remain very pessimistic. Most people are selfish, greedy and ignorant of the seriousness of things.
    So what the hell! Why bother trying to be good. Eat, drink and be merry and let the world perish. I certainly won't argue for trying to help the wasters, I never have and never will.
  11. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    I am even trying to change adults on this forum. Attempting to make talk about autism perfectly natural rather than something to be hidden away. Four threads deleted and one locked illustrates my problem. The latest one 'Autism is not an insult!' still survives ... :)
  12. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    @Mathsteach2 did confess on another thread to abandoning his 4 kids on a remote Caribbean island before scarpering off to Barbados with his latest 'fancy woman' for a hedonistic lifestyle.

    Rather shocked @grumpydogwoman who left to him to his own devices after trying to help him.
  13. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I recall doing all of this in sociology at A level. Mores, values, deviance, moving equilibriums. It all fits together in a big picture. Adults don’t stay the same. They constantly change even if the change is so minuscule you cannot see it day to day. Sometimes they make a big change - they start recycling a little better or take up healthier lifestyles. We nudge each other to change but we don’t insist on changes. I don’t think everything is as static as some think.

    Your aside about your father is interesting. It took me many years into my adult life to internally forgive my father for having values that I wished he had not had when I was a child. It was a different era and he was a product of a different society with very different cultural values. Have to do that Marie Kondo thing - thank them for the good times and say goodbye (metaphorically).
    monicabilongame likes this.
  14. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    As an overweight academic do you think your own values could improve?

    If so, skip a meal and give us a phone call. We'll have a chat about special needs education ... :).
    MrMedia likes this.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I feel a "This Is Your Life" moment coming on.
    The only thing missing is "Well, MT2-you thought you would never see those four kids again, but here I..."
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  16. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    What is overweight Kevin? Is there such a thing as an academic? Who stands in judgement on my values but myself?

    I've been reading some interesting papers about special needs. It seems those who advocate the deficit model have found that the 'no labels' lobby group can lead to 'no financial provision'. One group is trying to remove the cliff edge funding model and the other is trying to remove the funding model altogether. The liminality between them is an awkward place to try and occupy.
  17. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    As I understand it, Relate won't train anyone over the age of 50 as a counsellor because they won't change, so they won't be able to do the work on themselves which is needed before they can help others. Don't know how true this is, but it's a perspective.
  18. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    It’s not up to us to diagnose other adults or children having incorrect or faulty values-unless we have sufficient evidence to do so. We simply cannot look at, say, the moral panic over BLM and then conclude that children are potentially racists and need to have the structures of their minds altered.
  19. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    If I understand this correctly you are talking my language. So many of us appear to want to hold the moral high-ground instead of just ignoring it all and get on with trying to have a good time. Does anyone really think they are making a difference by puffing one's chest out and expecting others to admire them for what they are doing to help the wasters?
    alex_teccy likes this.
  20. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    We’re a funny old lot, us humans, a massive bundle of instincts, built up over millions of years, on adaptations, more often than not, layered on one another many in conflict with one another.
    There’s a reason the UN charter on the rights of the child (article 5) puts the family, embedded in culture, as having responsibility for child development. Schools and teachers need to **** and have that stapled to their foreheads, because they keep forgetting.

    They don’t know best.

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