there are few topics i am intensely dogmatic about (no matter what my regular readers may tell you), but i get pretty steamed when stupid parents mess up kids. i was a youth pastor for fifteen years, and i feel like i have an informed perspective. look, parenting is difficult in the best of circumstances, but if parents don’t begin to get a clue, we are in big trouble as a society.
my wife (a special ed teacher in the public schools) and i raised one son, who is a high school teacher/coach. he recently sent me a link to a cnn.com piece written by ron clark (pictured here)
, author of “the end of molasses classes: getting our kids unstuck” and disney teacher of the year. the article is entitled “what teachers really want to tell parents” (you can read it here) and, if you will indulge me, i would like to take the next few posts and share a single point from clark’s article each day, along with some brilliant comments of my own.
here is clark’s first point…
We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don’t fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don’t want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you’re willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.
Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, “Is that true?” Well, of course it’s true. I just told you. And please don’t ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.
and here is my first witty observation…
parents are idiots.
seriously, the moment we have children our minds get mushy. we lose all sense of perspective when it comes to “my baby” and it becomes impossible for us to think objectively. and even though it’s a lame cliché, pastors are among the worst offenders (i know…i’ve had their kids in my youth groups).
question to parents: is it wrong to question the veracity of our kids stories? and when they break curfew, do we somehow believe we are going to harm them if we don’t immediately accept their excuses at face value?
and is there really a parent out there who would ask a child whether his teacher was telling the truth…in front of the teacher? wouldn’t that parent realize that by subverting the authority of their child’s teacher they are derailing the kid’s future and undermining their own standing?
the bible still teaches that children are to respect their elders (leviticus 19:32, 1 timothy 5:1) and teachers (romans 13:7). when we endorse the position/competence of our kid’s teacher (or coach or youth pastor or troop leader) we affirm the biblical concepts of authority and submission. as clark says, “it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.”
and if you don’t believe me, ask a teacher.