PARENTS – Here’s some #Wisdom regarding your CHILDREN that will make your SCHOOL year go smoother and better for you AND your children.
My insight comes from observation – both past and present. Some may not know that I spent 3 years working at a local high school (With Communities In Schools, Inc.) and also spent some time heavily volunteering at 3 local high schools during my time as a Youth Pastor. Oh, I can’t forget those years that I served as a Substitute Teacher (yup, sure did!). What would you add to this list?
- Always remember – your school has your child(ren) for 7-8 (and sometimes 9) hours a day. That’s a lot of hours to be with children. Be kind to them.
- Refuse to adopt the mindset that it’s “us” and “them” mindset. That immediately puts a wedge between you and your child’s educators. You all are better together. Plus, your child benefits when you’re on the same page. (Your child’s teachers should have direct access to you! – at any time!)
- When you encounter something that doesn’t “sit” well with you, don’t immediately REACT with your emotions. Take time to process Win-Win scenarios and solutions and be willing to listen to the entire situation.
- Be wise enough to know that your child’s side of the story may not be the full story. Be patient enough to dig for the whole truth.
- Learn to ask questions rather than make statements. When you make statements you are assuming that you’re right and have all of the information.
- Apologize when necessary! Don’t let your pride make a fool out of you.
- It is primarily YOUR responsibility to nurture, train, educate, empower, teach manners, reveal identity, develop gifts/talents/abilities, and provide guidance of their educational journey. The educational system responds to what you give out.
- Watch what you say about your child’s school and the people that serve there IN FRONT of your child. Unknowingly, you could be planting seeds of disrespect and dishonor that’ll come back to you.
- It’s important to know that there may be things that you disagree that your teacher (or school) does. When that happens, HOW you handle the concern matters more than the concern itself.
- Learn the names of the front office staff, support personnel and even maintenance members if possible.
- When and if possible, connect with others parents who are stable and mature. You’d be surprised at the opportunities for partnership and collaboration among homes.
- Pay attention to the unspoken dynamics’s that your child gives off – body language, facial expressions, repeated phrases, avoiding certain topics and conversations. These ALL can be clues to something deeper. Sometimes its nothing. But other times is something. Be able to discern the difference.
- Know the rules! What are the rules for your school, rules for the school system, testing realities and dates, report card, etc. Be an INFORMED advocate. There’s nothing worse than having someone “pop off” and they have no idea what they’re talking about. As a parent, don’t assume that you’re wrong or have the wrong information. Just know the language.
- Be able to navigate both the short-term issues and long-term vision. This is based on the assumption that you have a VISION for your child. That’s your responsibility, not the schools.
- Be willing to make sacrifices for your children. If you don’t, don’t expect anyone else to do it. If you’ve got to lose a few minutes of sleep or sacrifice a movie or a dinner to empower your child, get them involved in their interests, etc. then do it! It’s an investment, not a loss. (Plus, it’s selfish if you don’t!)
- Keep up with important information. Keep track of your child’s social security number, student number, vaccinations, health records, old report cards, teacher names, test scores, etc. Get a binder, folder, etc.
- Be presentable! Often people will respect you based on how you present yourself. In other words, learn to speak English and not slang, put some clothes on, leave the pajamas at home, get your hair together. Plus, it’s embarrassing to your child when you show up with your ashy feet and tank top on. (By the way, this isn’t just a reality of one race/color of people – I’ve seen it all from various races/colors.) Also, this includes how you answer the phone, your voicemail, and your email address (can you imagine how your child feels when their teacher reads your email address out loud…? eek…)
- Ask for help when you need it! Don’t allow your pride to keep you from being humble enough to say, “Please help me…” That’s which the educational process or supplies or food or whatever… Thank goodness that there are loads of resources in most communities to assist those that are in challenging seasons. Also, remember that your identity and dignity is bigger than the challenges that you face.