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Becoming A Teacher-Parent – Giving Your Children The Goal Of Success
Where do noisy people get off? They tend to venture through life completely uninhibited, totally free from responsibility for their boisterous behaviour. They completely lack social awareness skills, and if you’re unfortunate enough to be around this type of person, the effect is embarrassment even as a passer-by. It’s even worse if you have a friend or colleague who displays this type of behaviour. Yet, this is how it is for many teens finding their way in the world.
I was in a coffee shop recently, reading, musing and generally minding my own business-I find it a great way to relax and become creative again, if creativity is sapped. Now, coffee shops are quite noisy places at the best of times I’ve found, what with coffee machines and many patrons happily producing a symphony of ‘harmonising’ decibels together. But what grabbed my attention this particular day, over all the other noise, was a group of four youths at the table next to mine-they were having a wow of a time! They talked much louder than any other table, which was occasionally boosted by a bout of uncontrollable laughter, and their bragging of drinking achievements was shared equitably for all to hear. And no performance like this would be complete without the odd swear word-there’s no doubt, theirs was a “complete performance.” It was obvious they were putting on a show for each other and for the rest of the patrons and staff.
At one point I recognised that I was no longer “minding my own business.” Being a writer, I discretely picked up the pen I’d been using and wrote a few key words to remember the experience-because it made me think. It was a golden opportunity to observe group human behaviour of young people who’d not yet discovered the art of (or the desire for) containing their egos.
As the meeting progressed, one of the girls said, words to the effect, “Why’d I get sacked (for bad language) from pushing trolleys – why didn’t they recognise my ‘good’ performance (16-25) trolleys.” This was a momentary, fleeting comment because no sooner had she said it (which piqued my ears!) the group was onto another quite unrelated topic of discussion. I got to thinking about this after I left the coffee shop. There was no apparent understanding in this young woman that no matter how good her actual performance of doing the job was, if she couldn’t relate with people her stay at that employer was always going to be very finite. She simply wasn’t going to last. “Bad language” is of course a cultural norm. Some working environments thrive on it, some don’t. Certainly pushing trolleys at a supermarket fits in the ‘working with the public’ realm and uncontrolled bad language just doesn’t fit into the job description.
It poses a question: Apart from the display of bravado, and seeing her comment in that context, why didn’t the young woman know the social dilemmas she was getting herself into? Had no one taught her some social graces?
It’s all too easy to start thinking about these kids as recalcitrants. On the surface they seem to be, and by definition, yes. Perhaps they’re different alone, but how often are they alone? It seems at this age, social life is “it.” But, can we really blame these kids entirely? I’m not sure we can. Too often I hear parents despairing over, or criticising their growing or adult children for running off the rails of life, and I just think: “boomerang!” Ninety percent of the time it only highlights the dysfunction that the parent in question cannot see, after all ‘they did a fine job’ in raising their kids! Didn’t they? Of course there are a lot of parents in truth who do see the problems, but are exasperated and are in no position to cause the required change in their son or daughter.
I think this young woman’s story highlights the value of teachers. Teachers in life provide the basis for learning; academically, socially, developmentally, morally, spiritually. Teachers don’t just exist in schools. They’re found also in homes-in fact, a child’s most important teacher and influence, especially during their formative impressionable years, is the one/two they love the most-mother and father, or those who play these roles. This need not change as they mature, though they’re exposed to a greater number of “teachers.”
Teachers are incredibly gifted and loving people in the main; investing themselves in the future of others, leaving a legacy to the world that will exist long after they’ve perished. Good teachers always push us just enough to learn what might be painful during but always rewarding afterward. We often don’t appreciate the extra pressure and attention at the time, but they are there; steadfast, firm, caring; not pushovers. When we’ve achieved a significant goal in life, how often do we turn around to acknowledge the one who guided us, and taught us… “Yet those who reach high stand on the shoulders of those who taught them,” says Paul Koptak of those of us who strive to achieve and eventually make it. A person playing the role of teacher probably helped us get there. Teaching in this way is inspirational-it is the best gift you can give your children-sound, firm but fair, teaching. Furthermore, it is often not recognised how potentially unrewarding teaching can be. “It takes fortitude, interest, and love of learning to stay in a teaching career.”
Parents have a role as teachers. The good teacher-parent knows this and attends to it; the parent who thinks only teachers teach is crudely unaware of this hugely important life truth, and they’re on a highway to ruination of their son or daughter.
Some parents are simply not doing their children any favours in being tyrants one minute, and pushovers the next. You can tell how the kids are going to turn out. There are no safe boundaries for these kids to base their behaviour on. How can they know what is right and what is wrong?
Furthermore, the adult parent who isn’t a teacher behaves more in their “child state” because they’ve never matured or been properly weened themselves-there is little hope for kids of parents like this, unless there is someone else willing to step in and mentor them in life. Chances are these kids will attract the wrong types of mentors and friends and will never learn the way to life. The cycle continues. It’s obvious where society’s proverbial fools come from. They come from these types of unruly homes which are lacking the core value of teaching.
On the basis of the above, how grateful are we of our “firm but fair” teachers? Who are they? Where are they now? Have you asked a question like: “Have I an opportunity right now to give them the loving feedback that they were such a positive influence over my life?” Am I grateful for them? They gave me much, and continue to.
© Steve J. Wickham, 2008. All rights reserved Worldwide.
 P.E. Koptak, NIV Application Commentary: Proverbs (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2003), p. 310.
 Nancy J. Girard, AORN Journal, Sept 2005, Available at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FSL/is_3_82/ai_n15648882
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