As some schools have already started back and others are about to begin, a new generation of students will be preparing for the future. This critical stage of childhood can decide the fate of a child, his family, and ultimately society. But this great responsibility cannot rest solely with school systems; households must shape children’s values and principles. The behavior of your children in school (and in life) will depend more heavily on you, the parent, than on teachers.
In classrooms children discuss science, math, and history, which is all very good, but who will teach them to be honest, to respect their teachers, and to overcome obstacles? Mathematics and history are very important for the academic development of children and youth, but their values are the compass that will guide them to success or failure.
Values are not taught. Children discover values through the example of their parents. It is common to find parents who complain about schools or teachers, yet it is less common to find parents who are truly involved in their children’s education.
Sadly, in the prevailing system in some schools throughout North Carolina, parents who are undocumented are not allowed to participate as volunteers in schools. Despite this limitation, there are other ways for immigrant parents to get involved.
Values such as gratitude, responsibility, trust, honesty, solidarity, and persistence will shape children into good people, no matter what type of work they pursue in the future. If your children see that you genuinely care about them, that you are affectionate, hardworking, and punctual, and that you confront problems instead of running away from them, then they will grow up with this image. In the future, this will provide them with the tools to overcome difficulties on their path to success.
In contrast, if your children see that you are indifferent, that you take shortcuts in life, that you makes promises you don’t keep, or that you lie whenever you want to avoid a problem, your children will likely become adults who repeat this behavior, which will lead to many problems in life.
It is never too late to fix mistakes. You can make a change in attitude and act the way that you would like your children to act when they grow up.
In psychology and pedagogy there is a phenomenon called the
Pygmalion effect, named after the mythological character, which basically describes how a person’s beliefs can influence the performance of another person. Let’s consider a practical example.
If you only point out your child’s mistakes and constantly nag him, saying that he is lazy or dumb, the child will grow up with the idea that maybe he does have a problem and really is lazy or dumb. There is a high probability that these faults will show up in the future. By contrast, if you consistently tell your child that he is smart and valued, over time this message will help him feel more confident.
Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart.
-Howard G. Hendricks