I have a lot of quotes in my room. Never a “hang in there kitty poster,” but a few little nuggets of wisdom. To keep things looking fresh, I move things around from time to time. I recently put a quote from Marie Curie outside my door, above my name plate:
A student notices this quote, and has some bad news for me. Apparently, I spelled Marie Curie’s name wrong: it should be Mariah Carey.
Before I go on any further, you must know this post is in no way a mocking or eye-rolling response to the student–far, FAR from it.
This is about my contemplation of late regarding parents, and parenting skills, tools, and the importance in education.
I am not a perfect parent. As my dad always said, “The most important job in the world is given to amateurs.” That may or may not be original with my father, but if you knew my dad you would know he deserves the credit. I was fortunate enough as a young mother to be able to stay at home for a few years with our sons, and even then it felt overwhelming, lonely, and sometimes excruciatingly boring. I know that’s not the pink angels and roses “mom” thing to say, but it’s the truth. Hours combing over the same books, “reading” the images of Goodnight Gorilla repeatedly, or questioning the morality of Curious George (still am very ambivalent about that simian), could be mind-numbingly boring for me. But I wouldn’t trade a single second. And I know all that talking, pointing out, engaging, zoo trips, (still say Seattle is one of the best places in the world to raise children), Pacific Science Center excursions, and even just grocery store trips helped both my sons with language, experiences, and interactions that cannot be overstated.
And that Mariah Carey is NOT anywhere near Marie Curie:
(Mariah Carey in a reflective moment…)
Now – on my random path, my husband sent me this link yesterday, because I basically had said the same thing as this commentator, that I would have LOVED to have been in the board room when this idea was pitched. Great minds, eh? In any case, exploitation, manipulation or neglect isn’t relegated to class or social status. Many parents have the means to educate and care for their children, and yet they choose not to. Many parents want to do as much as they can, but can’t afford to. I want to gag when I think of Hilary Clinton’s “takes a village” quote, but sheesh, people!?
Next, are you going to tell me to “hang in there?”
How about we make a deal–all of us? You, me, students, administrators, etc.: You read and talk to your kids when they’re little. Tell them the teacher likes them, maybe even loves them, almost as much as you do; if you don’t know how to read, look at picture books without words when they’re tiny; show them how to hold a book, turn pages, and snuggle on your lap, even for fifteen minutes. Turn off the TV. Dress them safely and warmly. Try to feed them good food for their little hearts, tummies, and brains. Get help when you need help. The key part to that quote is “THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD….” You may be an amateur, but we all are. You don’t need a professional to raise your child, like a doctor or teacher. You may need their care and support, but this is your job. Now, professionals: do your job. Help parents. Support them. Know that they are doing the best they can.
*I definitely consider this part of my job, by the way.
Parents: Don’t dress your daughters like tramps: http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/04/19/granderson.children.dress/index.html?hpt=T2