A few weeks ago, someone on facebook posted a photo of a child’s graded paper from school. The child’s teacher had written on the paper that she had told the child several times not to write in cursive. A friend of the child’s mom posted it. She included that the child wanted to learn cursive and that the child’s mother who was a veteran taught the child to write in cursive.
I watched as thousands of people shared the story. Many were in an uproar about it. Some were appalled by the teacher’s actions. Some wanted the teacher chastened for such an act. I saw comments about reporting the teacher to the board of education. Most were outraged that a teacher would make such a comment. I also saw many comments that declared “At least you could read it.” “The teacher should be glad the child could write in cursive.” I could go on. You get the idea.
I mulled it over for days. It really bothered me. I tried not to think about it, but I kept seeing it over and over again. Here are some points I made to a friend that posted the picture:
1. The child’s teacher asked her several times not to write in cursive. The child was being disobedient.
2. People are justifying the child’s disobedience with comments like, “it was only …”. “At least you could read it.” Justifying disobedience is a dangerous line to cross. Doing this gives children mixed messages. Sometimes you mean what you say and sometimes you don’t. Does a child get to pick and choose which instructions are up for negotiation?
3. The person who posted the picture included that the child’s mom was a veteran. What does that have to do with anything? My husband is a veteran. My grandfather was a veteran and wounded in action. Does that absolve a person from following instructions? No doubt the veteran comment was a way to manipulate others and elicit compassion and sympathy to join their side.
4. Why are adults bullies? This problem should have been resolved with the child’s teacher. A very short parent conference or phone call could have handled this. Handling it civilly obviously was not their intent. It was to gather support and attention.
5. These adults are teaching their child that they do not have to listen to adults. If something goes wrong in their life, their parents will be there to bail them out. Even the best of children will manipulate and lie to get their parent on their side. This family opened a wide gate to that happening.
I just checked the photo. It has been shared over 460,000. I’ll be honest. This kind of behavior grieves my heart.
If I have a problem with my child’s teacher, I discuss it with the teacher. Disagreeing or disrespecting an adult in front of a child causes some serious mixed signals. I may not always agree with my child’s teacher, but I think it’s important to maintain a united front.
It’s your job to get along with your teacher, not your teacher’s job to get along with you.
Make no mistake: defending your child when he has behaved inappropriately will not help him develop appropriate skills and to become right as a person.
Truthfully, I think I have pretty great kids. I don’t say that with a boastful heart. They’re not perfect. We have normal issues. I’m incredibly thankful for my children. They didn’t become who they are on their own. My husband and I require obedience. We also pray and rely on guidance and wisdom from God.
Some parents say, “I don’t know what to do! I’m at my wits end. I can’t control them.” Are you not the one that pays the cable bill? The phone bill? Do you pay for a cell phone? Are you the one that buys special snacks and treats? Do they live in your house? Then yes, you are the parent. Control is not the goal. We’re supposed to be raising children to be successful adults. Hopefully we’re not trying to raise children that can’t make it on their own and need their mom and dad to intervene in every conflict. But then again, maybe we are.
Tonight I read a parenting article from John Piper. He says that parents should require obedience from their children. Even if you do not consider yourself a believer, it is a great article.
Parenting is not for wimps. There is no easy button. Some days you think you’ll have a whiny child forever. Then suddenly, you make a breakthrough and things get better.
Once again, I’ll remind us all that we are raising our children to be successful adults. I don’t want my child to go off to college unable to function and cope with people and relationships. I don’t want them calling me to bail them out. I don’t want them getting dropped from their classes because they are disrespectful and challenge a professor’s authority.
I can say with confidence that respect, cooperation, responsiblity, and conflict resolution are lifelong skills that your child will need. Teach them to obey. Please don’t set them up for failure.
image: sxc by Chrissy Pauley
Fall is one of my favorite seasons. It is cooler and nature is simply beautiful. Take time to enjoy the season change and the gorgeous colors with your children with these inexpensive activities.
Make pumpkin scented playdough. Simply use a regular playdough recipe and use orange food coloring and add a little pumpkin spice.
Look for free craft demonstrations. Check at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Michaels for free craft and kid friendly activities.
Go on a nature walk. During autumn, there are so many changes around us. Discuss the leaves, earth preparing for winter, or give a brief lesson on photosynthesis. You might want to bring a bag to take some samples with you.
Make leaf rubbings from different types of leaves. On your nature walk, you may want to take some paper and crayons with you or you can bring home your favorite leaves to use.
Make leaf people and animals. I did this with my preschool class many years ago and I wish I had an example to show you. You select a leaf for the body and glue it to the paper. Use your imagination to draw arms, legs, etc to make a person or animal out of your leaf. The children thought it was quite funny.
Take a trip to a local pumpkin patch or apple orchard. I know it’s a little late for this, but it’s something to consider for next year. PickYourOwn.org has a list of many farms around the United States.
Make some fall themed crafts. I have a selection of ideas at my children’s website.
Plant a tree. Fall is also a good time to plant trees.
Play in the leaves. My kids really enjoy this one. They like to rake them, jump in them, throw the leaves, etc. I was able to find some kid-size rakes for less than $3 each.
Cook together. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Enjoy decorating cupcakes with candy corn, making turkey cupcakes, bake pumpkin bread, or other pumpkin recipes. My kids are young, but they enjoy to stand on their stepstool and help me stir things and they really enjoy decorating cupcakes.
Make a collage. Gather up current sales flyers and old magazines. Look for fall related items. Cut them out and glue them on paper to make a fall-themed collage.
Make silly looking pumpkins. Cut out a pumpkin from orange construction paper. Search through magazines and papers for eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc. Glue those onto the pumpkin for a funny picture.
What kinds of inexpensive activities do you enjoy with your children?