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Monday, September 28, 2009

Who is teaching your kids

 This is a really great article from the Thoughts on Parenting Blog
 called "Who is Teaching Your Kids?"

Sometimes I'm a little impatient when I play sports with my kids. They're 5 and 3, so they can't really do anything yet. Selfishly, it's not much fun to play soccer, baseball, or Frisbee when there are that many drops, misses, and wild throws. I actually caught myself yesterday wishing that someone ELSE could teach my daughter how to play Frisbee so I wouldn't have to.

Then she caught one.

And there it was. After a few more tries, a perfect throw. Then another catch. We were playing Frisbee, and she was thrilled to be mastering a new skill. I was proud and happy for her, and that's why I really, truly, want to be the one to teach her so many things.

So I started thinking, "what else do we ask others to teach our kids?" Would I be willing to let someone else (for free or a fee) teach my kids... hit a tennis ball? ski? play soccer? ride a bike? tie their shoes? tell time? cook?

Of course, we often pay others to teach them some things that we can't do ourselves. For example, I would have to pay someone else to teach my kids... play piano. play violin. draw. dance.

Then there is the academic side of things. Do I really need someone else to teach them... read? write? count? add and subtract? read a map? understand the natural world?

Then I realized that most children who attend school are learning from someone other than their parent(s) how to...
...resolve conflict.
...communicate effectively.
...solve problems.
...make decisions.
...relate to others (adults and children). empathy and compassion (or not). kind and generous (or not).
Not to mention developing their entire world-view under someone else's watch.

Of course, we don't live in an ideal world, and many parents have to work full-time to make ends meet, so their kids have to go somewhere (like school). I also know that there will be times when I need others to teach my kids complex subjects I know nothing about (like calculus). I just wonder how many of us actually think about what we're trading when we send our 6-year-old children to someone else for 6, 7, or even 8 hours a day.

Raising children (or, as some would call it, raising adults) is the most important job I have ever had, but nobody pays me for it. I put in my time, energy, sweat, blood, and tears, and no one will see any results until my kids are grown. I don't know about you, but if they make it -- that is, if they become successful, well-adjusted, intelligent leaders in the world -- I want some credit for their success, even though it means risking the blame for their failures. Besides, I have a hunch that teaching my kids to read will be even more fulfilling than teaching them to catch a frisbee!
Food for thought huh? Pass it on!

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