Starting Point – The Three Rs

I am a simple teacher with basic ideas…I’d like to ponder about Rights.

Having been a teenager in the 1960s as well as a student of history, I recognize that throughout time, there have been horrific violations of human rights aimed toward entire populations or factions of citizens. Please understand that I am not addressing these extreme situations in my Pollyanna-ish approach to rights. Rather, I am concerned about how the use of the word of rights has been expanded to encompass “wants” in our society.

I’d like to ponder about the fulfillment of individual or group Rights in our everyday life. Be it a major or minor expectation, folks seem to always be lobbying for things to go their way (their “rights”).   Whether these privileges involve takings turns for a swing at recess,  job search opportunities, or the establishment of borders between countries… it often becomes a non-ending battle for people to assert/claim what rights are owed to them.  Sigh…I simply do not enjoy listening to anyone whine (child, politician, or activist).

How does one determines what legitimate rights really are due a person or a group of people?  Sometimes the answer is so fundamental and obvious; other times, it is a difficult, unpleasant, debatable, and time-delayed process.  (Deferred gratification is not fun!)

As I school teacher, I have always dealt with the Three “Rs.” However, in determining how to make life “fair,” could we keep it simple for children and adults alike? A new simple equation ~ what these “New Three Rs” could be for persons of all ages – may simply be as follows:

Respect + Responsibility = Rights

(Our current math topic in second grade is about using turn around facts, so…we could reverse this simple equation.)

Rights = Responsibility + Respect

Perhaps it is merely a simple and fundamental philosophy for students and adults alike. If you want to expect the Rights you feel are deserved to you, you must take care of your Responsibilities in a Respectful manner. Whether it’s cleaning up your supplies after a project, paying your taxes or bills on time, voting, or protecting the environment … you simply must put forth the effort in order to reap the rewards of obtaining your rights.  Don’t whine about things/priviledges owed to you, if you are not willing to make the investment requisite for the result. In other words, roll up your sleeves, put a little “work” into the effort, and things just may go your way.

Simple enough…‘Nuff said!



About Jane Roe Cooper

I am a lower school educator navigating the complexities discovered while guiding the development of young minds.
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