Having been in education for many years and dealing with various levels of students, both in age and mental strengths, I have learned a few things that separates one student from the other. From drop-outs to scholar students, the formula is simple. Don’t think this is one directional either. I have used this with my own two children and have seen this work over and over again with parents who took what I told them to heart.
The world of academia has changed so much. The idea of loco parentis has been skewed so very badly. No longer do the majority of parents and teachers work as a single educating unit, but the students are shoved into the system at 4 years old without even as much as potty training being taught to them. Many “parents” think that it is the sole responsibility of the school system to feed, teach, medicate, and . . . well, discipline (sort of) . . . but that is for another post. I don’t know why, but it still stuns me to talk to a seventh grader (transferring to our school after having been bounced around from school to school) who doesn’t comprehend when I make a reference to something being as tall as the Eiffel Tower.
A recent article Parenting and Smarter Kids discusses what I’ve been preaching for years. It is the key. It is the “secret” ingredient. Smart kids are developed, not born. Yes, I know that children are born with genetic gifts, but that isn’t what this post is about. It is my opinion that “gifted” children are developed even before birth. The strict diet of the mother, eating and drinking only what is good for her child, is the start; then it is from the moment of breathing oxygen that education begins. Speaking to the infant and displaying the new world to the child help with brain activity by stimulation. Reading to a child, who has no clue what you’re reading but loves the sound of the parents’ voices and the silly sound effects, is wonderful for the child . . . stimulation. As the years progress, the parents are one step ahead of where their child is currently when it comes to learning. If you have a child learning about stars and constellations, go to the Internet together and see what the Mars Rover is doing; or better yet, take a trip to a local observatory and look at Mars . . . stimulation. By the time the child is literally six years of age (much data to back claims), the “thirst” for learning is set and will grow at an astonishing rate. By the way, the proper food and drink for the child should also continue after the birth and through the years.
I must address a problem with parenting that seems to be a growing tumor on the education process, if not already a malignant mass that has no hope of recovery. I’m sorry for being Debbie Downer, but it’s true. Somewhere between the early 1990’s and the 21 Century, parents began to think that they needed to their child’s best friend. While this is wrong on many, many levels, the sad thing is that it actually harms the child more than the parents think. A recent article Parenting is an interview with Kelly Ripa who discusses the importance of being a PARENT, not a best friend. Parenting is tough work. It is not for the faint at heart. Child upset at a decision you made? Okay, he’ll be fine. Your child doesn’t understand why you won’t buy something for him? No explanation needed. He’ll be fine. You demand adherence to rules and guidelines with consequences? Good for him! Hold on, Mom and Dad, it will pay off.
I am not the perfect parent, nor have I ever claimed to be, but I see the effects of bad parenting on a daily basis. Everyone makes mistakes. But don’t lose sight of where you want your child to be in a few years . . . and as an adult. You must encourage, support, discipline, and make tough decisions that will not always be liked. It’s tiring. It’s not always a bowl of cherries. But it is the end product that counts, and your child will respect and admire you for your hard work . . . later, but they will.