parent problem #5: naiveté

i happen to believe that most of the issues plaguing our society can be traced back to poor/absent parents, and nowhere is this dilemma more pronounced than in the public schools.

my son, a teacher and coach, recently sent me a link to an article by ron clark entitled, “what teachers really want to tell parents.”  not surprisingly, clark’s piece drew a lot of negative feedback from parents (and several teachers!).  the truth is, there are no easy answers…no shortcuts.  parents need to be proactive and i heartily endorse clark’s points, of which i will share the fifth and final one here…

Deal with negative situations in a professional manner.

If your child said something happened in the classroom that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, “I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me.” If you aren’t happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal, but above all else, never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don’t respect her, he won’t either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.

We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask — and beg of you — to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.

sadly, mr. clark is being idealistic.  it is my observation that there are precious few parents these days who are willing to say, “i know that children can exaggerate.”  they genuinely believe that their child can do no wrong.  and their kids play them for fools.  i’m not suggesting that parents should doubt their kids, but that they realize their kids are sinful–just like the rest of us.

when noah got off the ark, god told him, “never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (gen 8:21).  we lie naturally.  we cheat if we can get away with it.  that’s the way we’re wired, and your precious baby is no different.

the bigger problem here, though, is the long-term damage parents do to their children when they undermine authority figures (the “host of new problems” clark refers to). you do your child no favor when you speak badly about his teacher.  to him, it is more evidence that he is the center of the universe and god, in his compassionate mercy, will be compelled to bring him down a notch (check proverbs 16:5).

want to raise a great kid?  be his parent…not his partner.

be his teacher’s partner.





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