Thursday, November 8, 2007

Parents Should Be Teachers

Another day, another holiday to commemorate an event or cause. Today, it's National Parents As Teachers Day. This day was established in 2001 to create awareness for high quality early education for children.

As a former teacher, I realize that society does not replicate an Ozzie and Harriet or Let It To Beaver environment. The potential problems that slow a child's development aren't, however, limited to environment. There are physical limitations, mental disabilities, and educational systems that all fail at times.

There are parents who aren't able to be . . . parents. Some reasons are valid: parents who work hard, and sometimes at multiple jobs, to make ends meet; single parents who struggle to juggle raising a family and earning a living.

But there are several reasons why parents fail at parenting. It's a job. Plain and simple. It's hard work raising a family and rearing children who are honest, trustworthy, and sincere. The potential list of role models is dwindling. And for some parents, being a friend is easier than showing tough love.

I'm not saying I've been the perfect parent because I'm human - I have made my share of parenting mistakes. But I've had to show tough love at times, and it hurts. Reminds me of the mantra I would say to kids when I taught: Sometimes, doing what is right isn't popular, but doing what is popular isn't always right. Parents need to face the family in front of them and make decisions based on what is right for their children.

Teaching is every one's job; it is not just limited to those who earn a limited earning teaching in a school system (because truthfully, when you calculate the duty, extra duties, continued education, and preparation, a teacher really does NOT earn that much).

When I took my first teaching job, the superintendent of that school wanted to start a pre-school. He said it made sense; that eventually, the Pre-K set would be a part of a public school system. That was nearly 20 years ago, and look at the current trend: a lot of schools include Pre-K education so children CAN learn.

And why are schools responsible? Because schools realize that many children do not have the focus of parents at home. Most parents do try and play an active role in the development of their children. And they should. Without parental guidance, how are children going to learn any type of value system.

Parents as teachers goes well beyond teaching the ABCs and 1+1=2. It's about being responsible and teaching children right from wrong.

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