…let me tell you how to raise your kids. See, as a teacher I find myself having to fill in too many gaps left by parents. I ain’t never birthed no baby but I think my parents did a pretty good job in most areas so I use them as an example. I hope I don’t come off as pious or that I believe I’m better than anyone. I just think that people have gotten away from discussing matters like this. So here’s just a short list of recommendations for raising the next generation of productive and contributing members to society:
1. Talk to your children. I think parents should really assess how much of their verbal communication is merely giving commands because there are too many students who don’t talk in complete sentences and have less-than-adequate vocabularies. This was something my parents did and something we do with my nephew. We have conversations. I believe this is why my four year old nephew uses words like refreshing, comfortable, and disgusting in the proper context. And when you talk to your kids, you help them shape their personalities and it really makes them feel like they’re respected and that you really do care.
2. Be proactive in their education. Few things are worse to a teacher than a May Momma. These are the ones who show up at the end of the school year with newly found concerns and expectations for their child’s education. I will be the first to admit that education has changed a lot, even since I graduated high school
thirteen however many years ago. But schools still give out calendars, progress reports, and report cards. Many school districts have even made gradebooks viewable online so if a parent can update their Myspace and Facebook, they can check their child’s grades.
3. Know where your child is and the people who are around your child. This includes, but not limited to, knowing your child’s teachers, principals, crossing guards, friends, friends’ parents, the employees at the corner store… I can remember when I was younger and my mom let us walk to the store only after calling up there first to tell them we were coming. It’s too many sad stories on the news to be cavalier about this. Through my career as a teacher, I’ve had students wind up on a “missing child” poster on Monday and their last known whereabouts was school on a Friday.
4. Teach them about money, directly and by example. This extends beyond having them answer the phone when the bill collector calls to say you not there (though I understand the need for that—LOL!). I think kids should watch parents pay bills, balance checkbooks, and count and save money. They should hear parents discuss appropriate spending so they’re not out wasting all of the money you give them. Look, I saw a kid get hustled into buying “bendy toys” from another kid. You know what those “bendy toys” were? Hair rollers. Now if that child’s parents taught him how to spend wisely, his goofy ass wouldn’t have been out of money, walking around with foam spiral rollers wrapped around his wrist.
5. Teach them how to eat. And I’m not talking table manners, although they need those too. I’m talking how to make good decisions. I usually stay as far away from the school cafeteria as possible but one time I went down there and saw one of my students eating a pack of powdered donuts, chips and a slushy for lunch. My senior year of undergrad I was a reading tutor at a high school. I remember going to the cafeteria my first day and they were actually serving chicken tenders with nacho cheese and jalapenos! And kids were eating it! I think we can all agree that is ridiculous, right?
I don’t post this to ridicule. I just think that, at times, an outside perspective is necessary. And I’m sure all of my friends who are parents and reading this are thinking “but I already do that” because I know you all are awesome. So feel free to pass this along. It takes a village…