2016 | Week of September 5 | #1167
In short order all school-aged children in The Badger State will be once again engaged in their formal education after enjoying a beautiful Wisconsin summer. About 86% of those children will be in public schools, while the remaining 14% are in either in a private school or are home-schooling.
I know I am repeating myself with this next statement, but it needs to be driven home here on the brink of this new school year. God holds parents responsible for the education of their children, not the educational partner parents may choose to help them. Too many parents seem to either not know this, forget it or just ignore it. If you are not homeschooling and the educational partner you choose to assist you in the formal education of your children fails in some way, God does not shift the responsibility from you to that partner. He still holds you responsible.
Now, that said, it is also the parents’ responsibility, especially if they choose a traditional school, be it public or private, as their educational partner, to be sure their children are ready for school—and that doesn’t mean just making sure they have a well-stocked backpack filled with all the items on the supply list from the school. Of course, they need those things—and they probably need some new clothes and shoes as well. But they need more, much more, if they are going to be truly ready to learn this year.
I recently came upon an interesting article from an interesting writer. Victoria Prooday is, of all things, an occupational therapist. In that capacity she works with all types of people and situations, including children who would benefit from her services. Prooday’s online article “Why Our Children Are So Bored at School, Cannot Wait, Get Easily Frustrated and Have No Real Friends,” is jam-packed with excellent insights and helpful tips for parents who want their children to have a really good school year. Prooday says in her ten years of practice she has seen and continues to see a decline in kids’ social, emotional and academic functioning. Her contention is children go to school today “emotionally unavailable for learning.” She says “parental emotional availability is the main nutrient for a child’s brain.” She identifies five areas that contribute to this situation and gives some advice for parents.
First problem area, too much technology and too often used wrongly. Her advice—be the parent and limit technology. Connect with your kids emotionally without technology. Play together, write notes for their backpacks, have family dinners, play board games together. And she doesn’t include this, but have family devotions and pray together!
Second problem area, kids get everything they want the moment they want it. The advice—train your children to wait. Make them wait to get something they want; gradually extend the time between “I want” and “I get.” Avoid using technology in the car and in restaurant. Teach kids to engage in conversation and to practice waiting quietly and patiently.
Third problem area, don’t let your children rule your world. The advice? Be the adult; set a schedule and stick to it. Set limits and boundaries. Think of what is good for them long-term not just what will make them happy right now. Give them good food to eat—and resist the temptation for quick but not nutritious meals. Have a bed time schedule—and stick to it for their sake.
Fourth problem area, everything can’t always be fun. Advice? Teach your children to do mundane, monotonous work—and even show them how it can be fun. Chores such as folding laundry, picking up toys, cleaning their room and cleaning the garage are great training opportunities.
Fifth problem area, children have limited social interaction today. The antidote: put children in situations where they must interact with others—like Sunday School or junior church, in addition to other opportunities. Teach them to say “please” and “thank you,” to share, to take their turn, to sincerely compliment, to win and lose graciously, to ask questions about others and be truly interested in them.
As she concludes Prooday says in her experience children change as soon as their parents change. Wow. The power of parents. Good parenting is intentional, purposeful—and that’s what this article is really all about. Intentionally being the parent. Yes, it takes time and effort, but aren’t your children worth it? The bottom line, mom and dad? You are not only responsible for the education of your children, you are the ones who set them up for success or failure. What’s it going to be this school year for your children?
For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed. for lack of knowledge.”