Sunday, January 29, 2012

Raising children and teaching children


Raising a child or children is a demanding business. It always has been.  Some of us are not up to the task and are better off remaining single without children to hinder their lifestyle.  Many of us relish the challenges and the completeness of personal growth that the joys and challenges child rearing brings. It requires sacrifices that are often unfathomable for a single person. We want the best for our child and more than anything else we want them to turn out to be decent human beings as the end result. Teachers are also required to make sacrifices but while their goals are similar to the parents, they are coming from a more distanced perspective. Many teachers are parents too and they realize what the goals of good and involved parents are, but at the end of the day, the students are not their children. They should be able to go home at the end of the day to focus on their own families and their own children.

As both a teacher and a parent, it irks me when parents tend to blame teachers for the ills of today’s society as though it is the sole responsibility of the Education Departments  and their staff to turn out responsible and caring citizens of the next generation. Wrong. While the teachers and Education departments have a major role in the completing the education of a child, it starts at home. The home is the foundation of a child’s perspectives and values later in life.
You cannot and should not expect to live your life at home without the values and ethics that are espoused in any good educational institution. Children very quickly pick up on the hypocrisy of the family that says one thing and does another. If you want your child to be honest, hardworking and ethical - you must live those values and demonstrate them at home. The school will reinforce and support the ethos of the home or one would hope they would do so.
I have had numerous people from different walks of life at my table over the years. Only the facts that we are in a very small flat with limited space and of limited financial means, stops me from extending invitations to people for Shabbat or Yom Tovim. I am tolerant of people but intolerant of certain behaviours and dress to an extent. I do not want someone at my shabbes table who is dressed in short sleeves and short skirt or pants unless I can see that they really are ignorant of my dress code and then I am forgiving and tolerant to a point. As a teacher one is tolerant in order to teach and in fact far more tolerant than a parent should be. A parent controls the foundations of a child's psyche and life for the future. The expectations of a dress code would not and should not be relaxed for a moment in the case of a family member. Family members know what is expected of them and familiarity should not breed contempt for the rules of ones parents.
All too often in this modern world, we are too relaxed with our children and then we expect teachers to pick up the pieces and play big Mummy or Daddy. Kids have only one mum or dad and they are the ones that set the tone. Yes, teachers can and do influence for the better we hope, but the real buck stops or should stop with the parents and family.

No comments: