The Best Parents - and the Worst
While it’s true that we educators can have a strong and lasting influence on the lives of the children we teach, we search the world in vain to find someone who influences a child (for good or for bad) more profoundly than that child’s parents (or at-home caregivers, as the case may be).
If you are a parent/grandparent who loves your child (whether they are natural or so-called “step”, it doesn’t matter) then you will find a way to guide them toward a meaningful and happy life. Love finds a way. Always. I’ve yet to see it fail.
Of course, even the best parents can use pointers now and then. Over the course of my own teaching/parenting lifetime, I have found the following few bits of advice to meet with great success. Also, please remember, applying the following guidance will work wonders with any child; regardless of their academic ability, their temperament, or your bank account.
In spite of modern technology, this old adage still rings true: Read to - and/or with - your child. Yep, begin while they’re in the womb and don’t quit ‘til their first date, if then. It’s difficult to overstate the value of this. I once heard it said, “Luckier than I you will never be, for I had a mother who read to me.” Plus, it’s fun for you and your child . . . if you make it fun. Which we all can do - if we really want to.
When I taught at the Bristol Jail, the main thing I asked my student/inmates to do upon their release back into society was this; read a few minutes each night with their child (children) - and never miss a night. Many a man later told me those moments became some of the very best of their lives. And I have no doubt that many a child would say the same.