(Mom and Dad teaching Dave, on the right, and me.)
One day several years ago in the Fall, all my classes did a writing assignment about marriage. Of course, the girls did a better job overall as they have the advantage of having thought about it. At three o'clock that day, a number of my 8th grade boys were dismissed from my class to go to a football game. In the one minute it took them to get their stuff and leave, the girls just looked at them and shook their heads. We had talked about why girls sometimes like older boys and I told them I think it is a maturity issue. As the door closed behind the last gridiron star, I just looked at the females and said, "See what I mean?" They got it. The following is from October 30, 2006.
I told two young men to stay after class today. With about ten minutes remaining in the period, they began acting squirrelly so I said we would address the issue when the bell rang. At once, they became very subdued. When their classmates exited, we had a very brief meeting. I made the point that they should be leaders among their peers instead of behaving like two year olds. Additionally, I mentioned that I would really dislike contacting their folks but I was more than happy to do so. Asking if they understood, I received, "Yes, sir" in almost perfect unison. That was it. They are gifted kids from wonderful families. For a brief moment or two, they acted like thirteen year olds. Did I mention they are thirteen? Both make good grades and are active in a number of school activities. There won't have to be a call home. Their parents have insured high standards of behavior and all I had to do was a little bit of reinforcing. That makes my job so much easier.
Right after school, I had an unplanned get together in the hallway with one of my students and her mother. Mom let the child know that if school work did not get turned in, there would be no extracurriculars in the immediate future. My folks only had to do that once with me. I was a sophomore and my report card showed a mid-80's grade in World History. It was good enough to play according to school standards but not sufficient for my folks. As I recall, I had two weeks to bring it up or there would be no more basketball. Since I knew I was only about six years away from signing with the Boston Celtics, this would have dealt a serious blow to my hoops career. The grade spiked upward immediately. Coincidentally, it did have an impact on my career. But instead of earning a spot in the NBA, I earned a Masters degree in education with an emphasis in social science, i.e. history. My folks insisted that I do what I was capable of doing, academically as well as socially. There are still many, many parents who demand accountability. There is a term often used in education: in loco parentis or in place of the parents. In school settings, I take on some of the responsibilities for moms and dads. I wish there were a similar term for parents in relation to the Lord. Kids are a gift from God, to be taught and cared for while on earth. Many do a great job. I was reminded today.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."
Socrates (470 B.C. - 390 B.C.)
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org