Friday, August 6, 2010

Hello, fellow travelers.

It is an honor to have been invited to contribute to this new CFR site and even more so because it is in the Southeastern United States. I was born here, I live and work here, (even though I was out of it for about 20 years, I did return) and I am pleased that we can finally say that there are Southeastern representatives of NCFR. My sincere congratulations to all of you pioneers who have worked so hard to make this happen and the quality of the organizaion and materials is most impressive. I have been a columnist for a regional specialty newspaper in Northeastern Coastal South Carolina for 15 years and am now sorting through the monthly offerings that are being gathered into a book, hoping to find some pieces that might be appropriate for posting on this site. I will try to choose carefully since I know that you readers and members are highly educated and highly knowledgeable about this field and I don’t want to embarrass myself! I have been primarily working in the Parenting Education world for 19 years with Family Life being added as a CFLE 11 years ago. We have a lot of work to do, don’t we?

ParentsCare is the name of the column I write in Parnet News, and I work for still learning, inc. where you'll find some details on the ParentsCare curriculum developed for parenting workshops and for facilitator training. You will also find more details about my long life than you would ever want to know. ParentsCare, the columns to-be book, is a collection of personal opinions and suggestions intended to be heart-felt, experiential and educationally-written observations of our most important choice in life...parenthood. The offerings are taken from over 15 years of columns. It is my hope that this future book will become a “bedside” fixture for parents who will read at least one offering per week as they face the hourly challenges and joys of raising children. These ideas are meant to affirm, encourage, support and guide. If you find them helpful, I will smile.

A collection of personal essays
compiled through and offered by
Putting Parents And Children First
Through Family Enrichment Programs

As the new school year begins

Raising Parents

By Jim R. Rogers


All of us were at one time children and the paths that we have traveled to adulthood have been as varied as our fingerprints. Our homes are where we start life from, and when the start is solid and nurturing our chances of being solid later on are better, much better, and we will be more likely to do a better job raising our own children and sending them off into the world well prepared to handle whatever comes their way.

Departments of education, nationally and in state and many districts and schools are now finally emphasizing “parent involvement”, better called “parent engagement” programs which is a really great decision. But almost all of the programs are designed and conducted to help parents help their children achieve academically. Sometimes the parents respond well as then do the children, but often times the parents and therefore the children do not respond well and are unfortunately left by the wayside of learning. There are unfortunately only a few parenting education and family management programs to help parents understand their roles of raising healthy and responsible children. But, there should be. Here’s why.

Effectively parented children are the most likely to succeed at school, be cooperative and helpful in the community, and become productive and healthy adults and parents. Modern parenting education programs, classes and seminars are the most direct way of helping more parents to be effective and sensitive in raising children.

We will have better schools if we have better students. We will have better students if we have better parents. And what I mean by “better” is “effective”. Effective parents should be partners with the schools as team members in helping achieve the students’ success. How effective the parent is at home will better prepare the child to be open and receptive to the wondrous opportunities to learn that the schools and the teachers provide. What a loss in life it is when a child does not receive the educational foundation that is available in many forms in our schools. Many dedicated people work very hard to provide the best education they can deliver. Parents and other caregivers, have to be equally dedicated and caring about doing their part to prepare the child to be a willing learner. That’s why it’s important for parents to start the learning process early, and continue it throughout the formal education years for the children.

Children learn better when their lives are better. When children feel loved, cared for, respected, listened to, included and considered, they feel better. And when children feel better, they do better. So do adults. When children are surrounded with order, structure, safety nets, routines, clear expectations, and lots of warm attention then they feel loved, they feel able and they feel capable. Their desire for learning increases as they feel better about who they are and become more confident in their abilities to achieve.

At the root of a learning attitude is liking to read, and what happens in the home in the early years sets the standard for learning. Reading possibilities are all around us and the internet and your school’s media department are chocked full with ideas and materials. As the parent, our interest in learning is critical as a model for our children. Make sure learning and education are important values in our home. Give support to and cooperation with your schools and teachers. Let our children know that education is at the top of our importance list with reading, learning, studying, having a positive attitude and exhibiting self motivation getting our attention before most other things like, computers, games, TV, playmates, toys, extracurricular activities and wasting time. It’s all important for well-balanced growing, but too often, the lists are reversed and the pieces that are not the most valuable out-weigh the pieces that will give the best future.

Parents and caregivers play the most critical role in the success of our children. Helping them be successful in school is giving them perhaps the best achievement for being successful in life. And success in school does not mean academically successful exclusively. There are many other parts of a successful school life that contribute greatly to our total education. It’s important that parents and caregivers and educators understand that intelligence, top grades, rigid schedules, and narrow focus can also limit positive and successful growth toward adulthood.

There are social, psychological, physical, and emotional growth needs as well. Proper attention has to be given to all of the parts that make us the human beings that we are and will become. Growing up is hard to do. Helping others grow up well is, too. But, it’s our job. We have to know how to do it effectively. Good luck with this new school year and let’s plan to be the best supporter of our child’s education there could be and know that it starts in our home.

Next time, who knows. Until then,

Don’t lose heart!

Jim R. Rogers, M.Ed., CFLE
Parent and Family Life Educator
still learning, inc.

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