With seven days left in the school year, I wanted today’s post to be a letter to parents. On Friday, I’ll be sharing two posts (to make up for the forgotten post from finals week last week). Let’s dive into this letter!
This letter is for you; whether you are a veteran parent, future parent, or in between. I understand we all come from various lifestyles, disciplines, and backgrounds. For the moment, I would like to address this letter in three parts, to three styles of parents:
The one’s who let things slide by them.
The one’s who destroy creativity and free will.
The one’s who are role models.
To begin, I’d like for you to know that I am no parent and a lot of these structures and requirements to being a parent are not a part of my life. The things you, as a parent, have to go through are things I have never experienced. I know you are stronger than I on those fronts of responsibility and I wish you well in curving forward in the future.
I do however, love teaching and enabling children to learning ,creativity, and developing their educational skills that will guide them through this world. Even though I have only been a teach for 12 months of my entire life, I have seen a change of heart in society and in parenting. You might’ve heard or read people and the news talking about this shift. “Kids these days,” you’d hear someone say. It’s partially true, with an emphasis on the changing world and the people in it. This all relates to parenting, and even for those who are not parents, we have a claim in how we cooperate with others as this shapes our future- together.
To the parents who allow their children everything with no affirmative action for their choices and consequences: I ask you to consider the implications of allowing instant gratification. My personal favorite example lies in Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel. I just finished this book last night and the example he gives on how he teaches his children patience is one I’d love to work with my class sometime this summer.
… To teach them this principle, I’ve developed what I call the Oreo Game. Whenever one of my children turns five (old enough to reason well and understand this lesson), I sit them down at the table and place one Double-Stuf Oreo cookie in front of them… But before the icing-filing cookie hits their drooling mouth, I reach out and grab their hand to stop them.Altar Ego, Craig Groeschel
‘You can eat that one cookie now. It’s all yours and you don’t have to do anything for it. But that’s all you get, one cookie.’ Then I slide two additional cookies on the table. ‘But if you wait one hour, instead of just that one cookie, you can have all three.’
Sure, I too went through a phase of not balancing wants and needs. We all do. I just ask today’s parents to understand that you can be disciplined and still earn love and respect from your children (or students, for teachers reading this letter).
To the negative and over controlling parent:
This is a hard balance to navigate. How strict is too strict? Over correction can lead to destroying a relationship. My father, mimicked his father and each parent would use their parenting skills from their parents. I’ve written about the negative sides of living with an abusive father in these post below:
During my childhood, masculinity was more important than femininity; no after school programs to help me exceed academically; no sleepovers; deregulating creativity over mental health instability; discipline over freedom.
Now, I understand my dad’s not-perfect parenting skills and I’ve learned to forgive him for following in his families footsteps. Sometimes, I can use some of the strictness nature in my dealings with children, but never to the extent of physical violence. It’s when you disrupt a child’s learning and creativity that bothers me. I’m still recovering from my inner child being locked up for years inside a dark hallowed tree.
It’s this second group of parents I know from a small portion of my childhood- and this destruction of creativity and freewill doesn’t help society. It can hurt it while its trying to heal.
And finally, to the most neutral and positive parents. None of these categories are perfect. These are just my observations for one years worth of teaching.
You, like all parents, are role models. Children sort through countless information daily and how you treat each other as parents (no matter what the relationship status is), reflects on how your children will treat you with respect or disrespect. What you say matters. What your actions are, matters. For those parents who fall into this third category, keep your head up. Invest in your child’s education. If they want to play sports and your family has the time & money for the sport, go for it! If they enjoy art, let the child go through what they are passionate about.
We all come from different backgrounds and standards. In education, the goal is to help each student reach their personal potential in and outside the classroom.
This summer, I challenge all parents to chat with their child. What excites them? is there a book they can check out from the library to stimulate learning?
What about reading time, something I advocate for the most. Just thirty minutes before bed, instead of late night TV, helps in emotional and educational development, including sleep! Same goes for us adults too. I’ve had a “TV off” at 9 pm. The exception is my iPad, if I’m reading textbooks or books on my tablet. This has helped me in more ways than one. I haven’t been perfect with this, but it’s been a nice consistent change for starting that this week.
For all parents and teachers, I would like to thank you for reading this letter. Even as an adult, I learn new things daily from teaching methods to personal educational goals. Who knows- maybe after another year of teaching I might have a different letter to write again.
Danielle’s writing career started as a musician first. She enjoys blogging about various subjects ranging from lifestyles, mental health, and topics relating to her English-Writing degree.
Posts are on MWF every week featuring the monthly Taking Inventory Series, photography features, and more!