By Patrice Williams-Gordon
Like so many things in our life, stressors are relative. That is, what may be considered a stressor to one person may actually be a source of pleasure and even elation for someone else. Take for example the announcement of a hurricane. Some people find this a welcomed potential as it may mean a few days of surprise vacation from work or school, while for others it may threaten unplanned for expenses and possible displacement. There is another popular announcement that may have similarly opposite effects on people, “Back to School”.One mother declared that those were the three most liberating words she has heard all summer as she anticipates transferring the daily responsibility of planning daily activities for her children back to the teacher. However, it is not surprising that this elation may not be mutually shared with teachers and school workers who must now say goodbye to rest and relaxation time and get back to the grind.
Tips for Parents
Whatever the emotions that these immortal words conjure, there are steps which can normalize this transition period that tends to changes in entropy.
- Prepare your child to be on the lookout for the negative influences of students who being less supervised over the summer holidays, may share stories of ‘new’ activities from their recently attained street education. Rehearse the value of the activities you invested in for your child and give them a sturdy platform from which to confidently share their choices and experiences.
- Involve your child in the decision process of acquiring new school paraphernalia such as book bags, shoes, uniform, books and supplies. Share the principles of prioritizing that led to your decisions and also the sacrifices made to provide for their needs. In doing so the child will better value and care for your investments of both time and money.
- Recognize that parents are now also back to school. This will mean a rearrangement of your schedule to accommodate Parent–teacher conferences, assisting with homework, undoing negative influences through quality attention to the emotional cues of your child and a whole new world of learning both intellectually and socially as you interact with your growing child.
- Learning occurs differently for each child despite the ‘one style fits all’ approach that many parents assume. Educational researchers concur that there are four primary learning styles: auditory (based on hearing), kinesthetic (based on movement), tactual (based on touching and feeling), and visual (based on seeing). It is by keen observation of your child’s interaction with life in general that a parent will unveil the learning style unique to his child.Understand the learning style of your child will make for a less frustrating and more rewarding experience for all. Share your observations with the teacher and in so doing create a partnership in the learning process of your child.
- Seek to reinforce formally taught concepts with examples in everyday life. This will allow your child to appreciate the relevance and value of education. Review the mathematics lessons as you compare prices in the supermarket or the states of matter demonstrated in the kitchen as water boils to make tea.
- “In His teaching, Christ drew His illustrations from the great treasury of household ties and affections, and from nature. The unknown was illustrated by the known; sacred and divine truths, by natural, earthly things, with which the people were most familiar. These were the things that would speak to their hearts, and make the deepest impression on their minds” (Counsels to Parents, Student and Teachers p 178).
- Despite all the efforts of parents and teachers to educate aright children learn formally and informally picking up content from unsuspecting sources. Morning and evening worship coupled with a consistent Christian example is needed to counteract the negative lessons a child may learn.
“Jesus Christ, the Restorer, is the only remedy for a wrong education, and the lessons taught in His word should ever be kept before the youth in the most attractive form. The school discipline should supplement the home training, and both at home and at school simplicity and godliness should be maintained” (Counsels to Parents, Student and Teachers p 174).
Back to School is an inevitable activity that will remain with parents for a quite few years. Make the best of it recognizing that these are the formative years that will make or break the adult that is in the making. Embrace the journey and be blessed.