It is exactly forty steps from one side of the gym to the other. I had many thoughts going through my head. After all, I had three hours of silent pacing with not a thing to do as I was monitoring EOC tests. After I had covered how many lights were in the gym and how many blonde headed students there are versus all the others in the entire junior class, my thoughts turned to possibly more serious issues. I thought about the students who are excelling, those who are barely passing and the one who just laid his head down during the test and slept. I thought about the factors that seem to point to student success. What are those?
Here are the tips that seem to point to student success in school and in life from a twenty-four year veteran teacher who has mainly taught high school. My husband was also a youth pastor for ten years, so teenagers is where I live. We have two daughters, one still in college and one a recent graduate who is a first grade teacher. These are the ones that have stood the test of time. I am no expert in children, but most of these I could have written after my first year of teaching. I also want to add some of my research data (ha ha teachers) that comes from conversations with students.
Here are some quotes before I begin that I have heard from my students.
“Mom/Dad doesn’t care what I do.”
“I wish my mom would tell me that she loved me”.
“My dad is there but not really.”
“I don’t want to go home. I’d rather be at school”
“My phone is my most precious thing. I can’t do without it.” That was just disturbing to me.
These are in no particular order.
- Never choose a boyfriend or girlfriend over your child. I don’t think any explanation
is needed. Tell one of them to hit the road, and I hope that common sense prevails as to which one.
- Don’t teach your children that they should receive special treatment. You’re not doing him/her any favors. Help us as teachers promote a society where all people are created equal. Don’t expect us to give them special treatment as no one in life will.
- Don’t be so self-involved. You are your children’s heroes. They only want you. They will get in all sorts of trouble at school because of your lack of attention to them.
- Teach responsibility. Don’t do everything for them. It’s hard but force them to do the work. Make them earn every cell phone, every car, every tank of gas. Do not give them things that they did not deserve. Teach them a good work ethic.
- Don’t be afraid of your own child. Don’t be afraid to parent. Your children do not need you to be a friend. I personally have got plenty of friends. I bet your children do also. I love my daughters but I have not always been their best friend. As they have reached adulthood, I am now entering the stage of life where we are best friends. The days are difficult when you realize they hate you, but that hatred will quickly fade because love is going to prevail.
- Regardless of what they think they are not old enough to make their own decisions. You must govern the choices that they make. Whether they like it or not you need to be in charge. Love them through the hard times and do not give up.
- Don’t be an embarrassment to your children. Grow up. Quit trying to act like a teen, and don’t try to take your kids’ life for your own. They don’t need you to do that. They need you to be a model of success in the good and bad times and love them through all their good and bad times as you train them to be an adult.
- Be their number one fan. Regardless of their talents, strengths, weaknesses or whether they have turned out like what you expected or not, be their number one fan. It is what God has called you to do as a parent. Love unconditionally. They are worth it.
- Teach them manners and respect. Teach them to respect you. This does not include harshness from you, but it does include time and consistency teaching them respect. There is a difference between respect and rudeness and pride and arrogance. As a parent know the difference and teach your child the difference. When a student disrespects a teacher, they have for many years disrespected a parent or grandparent in their life. Thanks. You’re going to reap what you sow. The sowing part is difficult but the reaping part lasts much longer. You will pay for what you have sown far longer than you sowed it.
- My final word on how parenting and all of it will fit: get your kids in church. Find a church where y’all can be taught the Word of God together. No excuses. If you feel that Sunday morning is your only morning to sleep in, find a church that meets on Sunday night. So many options are available to have your family in church.
If you’re reading this blog and saying “Amen sister! Preach it!”, then your responsibility is equal to those of parents of children and teens. Our responsibility is to help. Our responsibility is to lovingly teach, assist, do whatever it takes to help a struggling parent
around us who needs support. Many moms or dads are single parents and in this alone, and they need our loving support, not our judgment and condemnation. We cannot point fingers but we must reach out our arms and love on people who need love unconditionally and have never felt it in their life. This kind of love only comes by knowing Christ who loved us in the same way. It is unimaginable, unbelievable, unconditional and real.
Find those good parents around you that their kids have turned out the way you want your kids to turn out and model of your kids after them. Watch those parents and take your cues from what they did. I strongly encourage you to read about Dr. Ben Carson’s upbringing. His mom is a warrior and an example to us all.
And finally, none of it will work without a relationship with God through Hi Son Jesus Christ. When we believe in Jesus and trust Him as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit indwells us and leads us, teaches us and gives us the words to say as we are reading God’s Word and praying those “Oh God help me!” prayers. If my children have turned out good in any way, it is not to my or my husband’s credit, but to God’s. Our children make their own choices, so if I take credit for the good, I have to take credit for the bad.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I Peter 4: 8 (NIV) *This one I needed worse as a mom
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.