I have heard the word “engage” used in many different ways. In my role as a school nurse I often hear staff discuss how to engage the students. In this circumstance I think they most often mean to hold the students’ attention. But what if we, as school nurses, teachers, and parents engaged WITH kids as one engages a clutch in the car? Let’s get those gears coming together!
Our students are already talking to one another about their lives and choices. I know they have opinions (about everything). As the school nurse I get to be another adult in their lives who cares what they are thinking. We know we can positively influence our kids’ choices as parents, teachers and school nurses. We have the opportunity to engage in tough conversations. Most of the time I start talking to students about what they did over the weekend or how their after school class is going. When I challenge them with a different question “what is your plan to get to college?” “how do you say no to underage drinking?” that is when I see them engage. They are so ready with their thoughts and opinions. They know I am interested in them, in their health, and in their choices. I love to talk and listen to them about choices they make. I love being a part of their gears turning toward healthy choices like saying no to underage drinking. Engaging is a great way to encourage our kids in these positive choices.
I appreciate Century Council’s Join a Conversation. I hope it has encouraged many people to engage with their students, their kids, their friends, and their coworkers.
Becky Murphy is a School Nurse at the FAIR School in Minneapolis, Minnesota.