At Rainbow Camp, the 8th, 9th, and 10th graders worked on their communication skills, and specifically how they communicate with adults. We worked on crafting appropriate emails and voicemails, talked about when to call vs. text vs. in-person conversations. Some of the practice we did involved difficult conversations like asking for favors or asking a teacher “why did I received a low score on a paper?”.
There’s more to work on with having difficult conversations, in particular conversations that may require you to take personal accountability for something (you missed a mandatory meeting, didn’t know your part in time, broke a rule, caused a disruption, etc.). However, while we were crafting appropriate emails at camp, one point came up that can be a really great way to start down the road of personal accountability.
The first thing you should do in any conversation about something you participated in that went wrong, is acknowledge your involvement and apologize for your actions. If you have more to say about the incident, that is a separate conversation for later. Here are some examples:
The first column really starts the conversation off on the wrong foot because it puts the adult in the position of having to tell you how you are responsible for things. The second column allows that difficult point to be made up front, and you show your maturity and willingness to work for a better outcome. If you’re facing some other type of challenge with another person or activity it’s okay to bring that up later, but make that a separate conversation. The first conversation needs to be about you. Adults want to help you and they have been there before – they know there will be difficulties. But first it’s important to speak for only yourself, and probably make amends!