Here is how my day went today (minus anything related to family):
1. Answer a lot of emails…a lot of emails.
2. Go to a meeting…a phone meeting.
3. Follow up on more emails.
4. Get truancy filings prepped for counties on 5 students.
5. Confirm enrollments of 7 students.
6. Make phone calls from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to the 15 students who are in the first stages of truancy.
I have to admit the phone calls are the most fun. Tonight, I talked to parents of 6 middle school students. Each of them attempted, at first, to defend their student. After I spoke with the students, though, the tune changed. What had begun as, “Jonny would never skip an entire week of school” turned into,”Well, the Playstation3 is going in the closet for the next month.”
These conversations are what give me the most excitement. It is not at all that I wanted to “catch these kids in the act” but rather, I wanted to enlighten their parents to the ways of their children. One parent actually said, “I wonder what else he has been lying to me about.” Too bad a computer chip can’t reveal that to her … yet.
I do not think that any of these parents are bad parents, but they are a part of a growing trend of parents who believe their kids first and have to be convinced of their kids’ guilt rather than the other way around. It is not that I want to believe the worst in my kids all of the time, but I have a pretty healthy understanding that sin lives in all of us. Because of this sinful nature, we have a tendency not to tell the truth…to lie. Lying gets easier the more that we do it. If a child has been lying to her parents for years about small things, it won’t be that hard to do when it is a bigger thing.
Our society has so many issues right now, but I truly believe that most of the issues stem from the fact that young adults are out of control, have a poor work ethic, and don’t take responsibility for their own actions. And why should they? Every time the school called their parents to say that they were in trouble, need to come to school more, and need to work harder to get better grades, their parents have taken the kids’ sides in the argument. We now have an entire generation who have or are about to start raising their own children, and that generation does not know how to take responsibility for themselves. How will they be able to teach this to their children?
Unless those who see this problem start fighting against the enabling behavior that exists in parenting, we are soon to be doomed. I am fortunate to work for a school that wants to take a stand against behavior that allows students to fail in their classes by simply not even logging in. I am empowered to make phone calls that shed light on these issues, but it is super hard work. I cannot believe the list of excuses that I get for the student not attending (did I mention that this is online?) school. If the student’s leg is broken, the student can attend school by sitting at the desk or by holding the laptop – on their LAP! If the computer is broken (many of which are provided by the school, by the way…), the student should be going to a friend’s house or a library to get some schoolwork done.
I feel as though we are fighting a huge battle, and I do not know how this will turn out. But parents need to parent. They need to start parenting now. I’m not so “doomsday” to say that they need to do this before it is too late, but maybe I am… maybe I actually wonder if, perhaps, we have already lost the chance to turn it around…
I hope not. I really hope not.
Today’s parents need to start parenting now so that we can get things turned around. Now.