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Where are the Parents?

Last night, I had the privilege to be a guest speaker at a wonderful event hosted by the Pinellas County School District - celebrating parents, volunteers, and mentors from the local community.

I was overwhelmed with joy to see the number of parents who came out to support, encourage, and appreciate the efforts of their young people. But unfortunately, this hasn’t been the norm as I travel from city to city and state to state all over this beautiful country.

I’m concerned when I see more parents in the stands at a high school athletic event than at a high school PTA meeting. I’m constantly asked by teachers, “Joe, what can we do get the parents more involved in the life of their children?”

 

...continued

 

Hello Difference Maker,

All I can say is, “I love living in Florida.” After taking several trips to Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois, over the past couple months, the warmth of the Florida sun is a welcomed luxury.

Last night, I had the privilege to be a guest speaker at a wonderful event hosted by the Pinellas County School District - celebrating parents, volunteers, and mentors from the local community.

I was overwhelmed with joy to see the number of parents who came out to support, encourage, and appreciate the efforts of their young people. But unfortunately, this hasn’t been the norm as I travel from city to city and state to state all over this beautiful country.

I’m concerned when I see more parents in the stands at a high school athletic event than at a high school PTA meeting. I’m constantly asked by teachers, “Joe, what can we do get the parents more involved in the life of their children?”

This is a million dollar question I’m sure teachers desperately want an answer to. However, it’s impossible to “make” someone care about their children; either they do or they don’t.

I understand I’m really oversimplifying a very complicated issue. But the truth of the matter is, even the most well-intentioned parents struggle with making their child’s education and social well-being a top priority.

I admit, I’ve even struggled with this problem in my own home. When the daily responsibilities of providing food, shelter, and the “finer things” for your family compete with the day to day stress of dealing with unrealistic work demands, an uncompromising boss, and low pay (among other things), it’s easy to see how our children’s personal well-being can “fall through the cracks.”

“So Joe, what can we do as teachers?” I say, pray.

I was a guest speaker at a mentor conference last year, and an attendee asked me, “What’s the one thing a parent could do to re-connect with his or her child? And I said, “Seek their forgiveness, and tell their son or daughter they owe him or her an apology.”

The truth is, we all do to an extent.

We’ve all fallen short in loving our children unconditionally; giving them too much too soon; exposing them to too much too soon; not living with complete integrity in their presence; not spending “enough” time listening to them; not spending enough time “teaching” them; not being “more” active in their lives without being smothering; allowing their friends to have more influence in their lives than we do; and the list goes on and on.

Why do I say pray? Because no one can make a parent do those things, including you? We need God to help turn the heart of parents back to their kids and vice versa.

I apologize for getting a little preachy, but for every good parent turnout I see at an event, I see 20 more disappointing events where parents are “missing in action.” We need change, and we need it now. Our children’s lives depend on it.

 

Posted by: Professor Joe Martin • 2008 /03 /30 • Discuss This Entry (7) Permalink

 


 

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