As a parent of a teenager, I am reminder everyday that we living in a celebrity culture where role models are film and sport stars. Within this “me first” society there is an obsession with instant gratification. There is a danger that education is seen as just one more form of fast food to be consumed as quickly as possible. Of cause this is not true. A delicious meal requires planning and preparation. The chef (mothers/fathers) uses only natural ingredients, and please don’t rush me in the kitchen The chef need to be innovative after a long day in the office, and is constantly trying to improve the menu. Education is not unlike a delicious meal. It’s ingredients include, diligent pupils, supportive parents, teachers who are well qualified and passionate about what they do (having the resources, tools required to do their job) and a challenging curriculum that nurtures body, mind and spirit. Quality education is like a good wine that needs to mature. This is exactly what spurred me on, to talk about education with you and “me”! Are we as parents, at the centre of this system, preparing our future leaders, doctors, engineers, lawyers, sport stars, film stars and other honourable professions? Or are we relying on government and school governing bodies to make this happen?
We are the tenders of these young minds and our role to protect, teach and nurture is something that requires a constant action of what we need to do to be accountable in the system. Are we expecting teachers and governments to include values teaching into the curriculum or are we taking the front lead in our homes? As critical thinkers, children need to be challenged to question and to think deeply, as they seek the truth they must consider all the facts before forming an opinion. To be authentic, education must also be holistic. This becomes a challenge in a society where children go to school hungry, don’t have their textbooks and see their role models do, what they start believing is normal,-transitioning from being the victims of violence to becoming the perpetrators of violence. The capacity to parent a child is given to all (sadly even other children today) and we need to take the responsibility to ensure that the skills we develop as parents, to develop these young minds, are sharpened by good values, open communication in our homes and support to our teachers, rather than foster this “me first” attitude in wanting to develop children that are guided only by what is important to them.
I leave you with this question: Can we actively take up this challenge by holding the mirror up to ourselves? How much do we want our children to do in “helping us in the kitchen, cooking that quality meal”. Do they play a role? Or are we chasing them out because children should be seen, not heard. No amount of “rights talk” can do what only involved parenting can achieve.