An open letter to the parents of all school aged children

Last Friday I had a chance to spend part of the day in my son’s classroom as I tend to do on at least a monthly basis. I would go more often if needed but he goes to a catholic school which has many events that we attend along with Cub Scouts that also meet and host events at the school, so we have a lot of interaction with the school personnel and the other parents and children that attend the school.

Spending just one day a month in your child’s classroom can tell you a lot about the success or failures of your child and/or the teachers that are working with your child day in and day out. I can not see how other parents think it is alright to not be more involved with their child’s education and rely only on the child and the teacher(s) to raise and educate their children. In our case, my son’s teacher understands how involved we are with our son’s education and development, therefore there is an abundance of communication not only monthly but also weekly and daily when it comes to his performance, maturity, behavior and social interaction with the other children and staff. At the first sign of something out of the ordinary or areas where he needs more attention or focus we are notified immediately and can set up a face-to-face meeting if and when needed.

This post however, is not about my child, it’s about yours, if what I have to say applies. If you are not involved with your child’s education more than just reading their report card, complaining about bad grades and complaining about how bad the school system is, then you are part of the problem with what’s wrong with the school system in the U.S. Just think bout it, from the time a child is about 5 years old until they are 18, they are being influenced for the most part by complete strangers for roughly 1/3 of their life between those years. That is on average 4 years (typical school breaks taken out). It may be spread out over time but the influence that time away from you and the people they are with has on your child is the biggest factor of who your child will become when they get older as they are the most important years for a child’s mental, emotional, social and educational development.

Now, I am not saying every child has a bad teacher nor am I saying that all the people that our child will interact with at school are a bad influence. What I am saying is that you must insert your own values, teachings and beliefs somewhere in the child’s life if you want them to grow up to be a well adjusted and well rounded human being that can make it through life on their own.

Have you ever heard anyone say “I don’t even know who that boy/girl is anymore” or how about “I don’t know where he/she gets that from” referring to their child? Well, most likely it is because they have not been able to overcome the outside influences of those 4 important lost years I was talking about earlier. Those years gone by can not be gotten back but you can do something about it right now. Become more active in our child’s life and help to guide them and give them direction where and when they need it. You do not have to spend every waking moment worrying about your child but at least know where they are at in life and what areas they need to improve upon so that you can influence and help them to become functioning members of society.

The reason I wrote this post is simple; Not all of the other children in the school he attends (or all schools for that matter) have parents that are so involved with their children’s education and so it falls 100% to the teachers to be not only the educator but also the mother and father during school time which takes away from the time that the teachers could be teaching to the best of their ability and therefore it effects my son’s education.

My child is not perfect by any means. He is highly intelligent, polite and has goals, dreams and ambitions just like any other child but he also has areas where he needs to work harder to improve himself as well, to become a well rounded person. The difference is, his mother and I take an active role in his education and development as a person and are aware of his shortcomings and are helping him to make his dreams come true by being that aware and guiding him down the path to becoming the best person that he can be. We are doing this by interacting with those that are closest to him on a daily basis, observing, getting feedback from and providing feedback to those same influencers and take into account what they know and who they are when making decisions.

I was a little frustrated when I left the school following my visit and I sent the following Twitter message; “Parents; for the sake of my child’s future and yours, please be more active in your child’s education. Trust but verify teachers role & goal” and a few minutes later I received this response from  person that I will not name here; “I would bet many do not have the luxury to be able to…“. I am unsure of the sender’s true meaning but I must say that I never thought of raising my child and doing the right thing to ensure that said child grew up to be the best person they could be “a LUXURY”. If you have so little time and can not put forth the effort into raising a child that you would consider it a luxury, then do not have one because guess what? Raising a child takes a LOT of time and effort to do so correctly. I am by no means an official expert (read: child rearing degree) but I do believe that having a child and leaving said child to be totally raised by others is not parenting.

Hey, not everyone is cut out to be a parent, just look at the crime rate, unemployment rate and all of the people that can not support or fend for themselves in this world. Each and every one of them is or was someone else’s child. Just because you can have children does not mean you should.

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1 Comment to “An open letter to the parents of all school aged children”

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  1. Windi says:

    Suppose I should’ve been more specific in my response Tweet the other day (I realize I am outing myself, but thanks for anonymity)- I was looking at it from the perspective of having the luxury/ability to spend time in their child’s classroom during the school day, as you are able to. There are probably plenty of people WE work with who don’t have the flexibility (or feel as if they have it) of schedule to do to spend a day (heck, a half a day, an hour!) in their child’s school.
    However, I agree that doesn’t give them the excuse to not be involved in their child’s education and life. My parents had jobs that rarely allowed them to be in school during school hours, yet were pretty involved in my education (family computer nights, Saturday Speech meets, PTA meetings, aiding in starting a school-wide recycling program). It is A LOT of extra effort; and therein lies the problem- that most parents are unwilling/too tired/oblivious/host of other excuses to put in that extra effort to be involved.


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