The other day I saw a meme on Facebook that said, “One of the greatest threats to America is that the school system is not teaching the next generation morals…..” What?! It went on with a list of things that the school system isn’t teaching, but the whole thing just made me shake my head.
First, let me tell you that in the amount of time in a school day minus the time spent on recess, in the lunch line, waiting on everyone to use the restroom, taking attendance and managing a classroom full of squirmy kids, we should be grateful that they learn to read and write and do basic math. As a kid, the school day may have dragged on forever, but for teachers, the day flies by and there Is often a whole pile of things that had to be cut out of the lesson plan because there just isn’t enough time in the day.
All of that aside, what really irked me is how we, as a nation, are all too willing to pass the responsibility for raising our kids to someone else. When did the school system become liable for parenting too? Just because you send your child to school, it doesn’t negate all of the training that you should be doing at home. It is OUR job to teach our kids manners and morals and the value of hard work. It is OUR job to teach our child to have integrity and treat people how they want to be treated.
There are 168 hours in a week. If your child sleeps 10 hours per day, you still have 98 hours of teachable moments in a week. Even if they go to school for 6 hours per day, they still have 68 hours a week that they are with you or with someone you designate. I know that many of those hours are being filled with dance lessons and scout meetings and ball games, but you are in control of the schedule. If you don’t have time to pour into teaching your kids to be decent humans, then pare down the sports activities.
I home schooled my kids, so all the burden for teaching morals AND math skills rested squarely on my shoulders. (I know that isn’t the lifestyle for everyone and I’ll be the first to tell you that if you don’t feel called to it you probably aren’t cut out for it.) My point is that they were MY kids and MY responsibility. If I took them to an art class at Hayner, I expected them to be taught art. I never expected that the art teacher would take over my job of teaching my kids to be hard workers.
You are the first and best teacher for your kids. What you teach them will be more important than anything they’ll learn in school about the Revolutionary War or Geometry. Lessons about friendship and the value of family are best learned IN THE FAMILY. Lessons about money management and people skills will be learned at the knee of the parents. In fact, we need to be careful about what we model at home, because no amount of “schooling” is strong enough to overcome the attitudes and behaviors that you will make the norm in your home.
I’ll wrap this up by saying, “Yay, teachers!” Your job is hard and you are often underappreciated. You are doing great work in teaching quadratic equations and sentence diagramming! But parents, let’s make sure that we understand that our job is all of the other stuff. We will raise better citizens by passing on the morals and values that we feel strongly about and leaving the school system to do what it was meant to do: educate.
Hi! I'm Janet and I've been the Director of the Before and After School and Smart Start Preschool Programs at the Troy Rec since 1994. My hubby and I have been married 30 years and we have two grown sons. Each of them is married and blessing us with grandchildren left and right. Life is good even when the nest is empty!