The college student came at the conclusion of the class to make inquiry, “am I going to pass this class?” This particular student had poor attendance throughout the semester and grades below the acceptable level. When this information was shared with him his comments were, “just wanted to know so my dad can make application for me to get in another college.” This attitude is growing with today’s young people, and accountability and responsibility as a core value is being diminished.
The news media recently followed a young man involved in a car accident in which four individuals lost their lives. The accident was his fault. The defense attorney pleaded the case upon the premise the student had grown up in a home that was so affluent with material items the young man never established a core value of right and wrong. Later his mother took him to Mexico so he would not be confronted with additional criminal charges……………affluenza!!
Movie goers who follow Starwars will remember Yoda who warns Luke Skywalker of the ‘dark side’ which resides within us. When Yoda describes to Luke what all this means, Yoda responds, “it is only what you take with you.” As our children grow older and leave home, the culture will become their teacher and gradually consume them. When this happens the greatest danger is not what may befall them from the outside but the absence of core values inside. It is what our children take with them from their childhood, developed by loving caring parents that matters most. Therein lies the adage, “when they grow old they shall be like their teacher”, and the first teacher is the parent.
I often reflect upon my own teachers and parents, and invariably, in retrospect, I am struck by the success of friends and fellow students who had ‘tough’ parents. From this observation it would appear that moderate stress and ‘grit’ is a better predictor of success than SAT scores. This philosophy flies in the face of the kinder, gentler philosophy that dominates the American educational establishment.
Psychologist Anders Erickson is noted for his study which indicates ‘a little pain’ produces competent adults. Allowing children to experience and learn from pain and failure is loving. Otherwise, our children become weaklings. I have to add, to you the reader, at no point am I calling for abuse. I would be the first to complain if my child’s teacher called students names, or had a hostile environment. However, if we are giving in to our children’s every demand, shielding them from consequences, and rewarding bad behavior, we will fail them. Be your child’s parent and mentor. Love them, with tough love, not pampering. Remember this adage; a behavior that is positively reinforced will repeat itself……...a behavior that is positively reinforced will repeat itself. A good question to ask yourself when dealing with the behavior of children and young adults is “what behavior am I reinforcing.
We have all seen the family who goes to any extreme to avoid their child not having the right toy or not having to do without or protecting them from any form of negative consequences. Seeking to protect our children is understandable, but when taken to the extreme it does harm. Don’t be your child’s servant. If God allows us to suffer for our own good, why do we suppose that we know best by shielding our children from failure? Do we want comfort or character for our children?
Peace and Grace