It has officially past one month that my only child has been a student in the public school system. She has been looking forward to kindergarten for at least two years before. In order to compensate for her lack of age to attend, we bought workbooks and educational materials, visited museums and shows, and practiced instruments and art.
I know that not all parents are raising children who enjoy learning or being active. Some kids are very much in their heads and prefer their solitude, and they become adults who feel the same way. My child is doing very well thus far in school and is already reading books to me, but a time may come that she struggles, and even then, I will feel it is primarily MY responsibility to ensure that my daughter has the proper tools to succeed in a way that she can thrive, not her school and not her teacher.
It is my role to ensure that my child understands how to keep herself safe when she is not in my presence. It is my role to ensure that my child is physically active so that her brain and muscles can continue to develop strength. It is my role to show my child to understand boundaries. It is my role to explore my child's imagination. It is my role to show my child how to treat others well and how to stand up for herself when she isn't. I would never expect teachers and people that I do not regularly spend time with to be her primary examples of basic behaviors. This is where so many people go wrong.
As individuals, we in ourselves, are our first home. Our first responsibilities are to our own health and own mental well-being. We are responsible to our own desires and own purpose. When we become parents, our responsibility expands to our household and children who may be under different custody. We must ensure that we are making ourselves available to family before we are prioritizing being available to the outside world. Yes we must earn income, but we must also remember that we are given divine obligation to ensure our young ones will one day be ready to fly on their own. They cannot do that if they get no understanding of the world they will be flying into.
The educational system in America can feel as challenging as navigating the justice system. Sometimes there isn't enough funding, enough knowledge, enough support, enough time, or enough agreement. The teachers, the students, and the parents all feel burdened by the demands of juggling the outside world after the bell rings with the safe haven and opportunity that education is supposed to provide during specific hours.
It has been very difficult watch the battle between educators, parents, and government and continue to be uplifted at times. Even in the job market, there is little emphasis on training and the training that is provided is often uninspired and watered down. Who is creating opportunities to train apprentices and who is signing up to be one? Sometimes the student must learn to seek out the teacher or the master. Parents must invest in their child's imagination and intuition because they will need those during the transition into adulthood for survival. Parents must keep the lines of communication open with educators even when there has been no complaint or concern.
All throughout life we face pressures. Those pressures will never stop. We all have to keep learning and keep adjusting. We all have to keep finding new information or adapting old information to new purposes. The only people we can never get away from is ourselves. If we fail to prioritize learning and adaptation within ourselves and within our home environments, then we don't stand a chance when we step into other ones. Teachers cannot do it all. Parents cannot do it all. Students cannot do it all.
Success has to become better defined than how smart someone is or how much money they are making. Success is not just about degrees or title of institution. I don't care how many degrees someone has if they can't relate to others or cannot invest in the people around them. I don't care about someone's bank account or job title if they are snobs and build their mindset on a superiority complex, where they just believe they are better than others who make or have less.
I grew up a kid that was very smart and very talented but often had few resources. I didn't get to take as many classes as I wanted to take in the arts or travel to as many places as I wanted to see, but mentally I was never held back because I loved books and I could imitate videos. I loved information. I didn't mind asking things. It is wonderful to see this in my own child when sometimes I don't even see it in my adult friends or family members, to a degree. I never depended on someone needing to be around to teach me to do something if I could find a book or article about it. Nowadays I am constantly watching people who say they want to be something or do something but they are not willing to self-teach.
Education and training always has to start with us first, and we can't always delay the process until it feels good. Consistent practice until something becomes enjoyable or faster to complete is part of the development of tenacity, which is something we all need in order to survive life. Don't just ask your child if they did their homework. Help open up the backpack and review it with them or at least look over the work they are bringing home so that you can have informed conversations with their instructors.
Educators (not always teachers) need to make more efforts to inform and include parents in decision making when they are minors rather than treating them as political pawns or suiting their own agendas. There has to be transparency so that the educational process can be shared and conquered and stress can me minimized for all parties. The focus needs to stay on learning and preparing a new generation of society rather than on hair styles or economic status. Sometimes time the very people who should be teaching the dangers of division often become the ones who create it in young minds to start with.
Students often feel the same pressures they see their parents or teachers struggling with, and they too, need the room and safety to learn to cope. It is often the student that isn't given the confidence or tools to reach out while young or in college that struggle to do it in their adult lives. When they can't go to their parents or can't go to their instructors, then they seek other means of support, which may not be the type of the support they need.
So many people will not take any steps unless they have someone there to give them the answers or motivate the effort. There are people who are always looking to find their next mentor or financier or surrogate parental figure before they will start the process of getting information or taking action on their own. They always want "help" but they haven't begun the process of something to help with.
Being a student is not just about grades and evaluations. It is about growth, progression, and belief in oneself. Being a student should never end. As individuals going through life, we should never be resigned that we can't change anything or find out something that we didn't know. Learning could simply be changing careers, getting married, developing a talent, or working to understand society in order to better it. No one with mental capacity and full physical function should ever be sitting on the sidelines watching everybody else live life.
One of my dreams is to take Madam Uplift and shift it from not just a blog site, but into services and products that help people to adapt negative stress into positive stress. I honestly believe that stress management will save lives. I have a long way to go with funding and building a team of support, but my daughter sees me planting seeds every day by working on my business plan, creating social media content, researching for blog posts, and taking other actions. Therefore she understands that even at 5, she doesn't just spend time playing, she spends time learning about her art and the world around us.
I urge parents and those helping to raise children to do what you can to make sure they are not stuck in their own environment all the time. Expose them to different types of people, take them to free or low cost museums, or drive them a couple of hours outside of their city. Let them see their parents interact with their educators in positive ways. If you aren't doing any of these things for yourself, then do what you can to start. Find way that you can keep learning new ways to make money, new languages to speak, or new projects to get involved in.
In what ways can you build partnerships for you or your child? What things are you frustrated that you have not yet been able to do? What new types of learning are you open-minded to, whether it be in person, online, or through a book or podcast? How can you help improve how your child is exposed to new information with confidence?