Saturday, January 28, 2006

What kind of parent will I be?

If I am being honest with myself, I've been preoccupied lately. My wife is entering the final trimester before I add the title of father to my resume. I find myself looking over my students wondering if baby Tate will be like this one or that one. Will she be academically inclined? Athletically? Will she have a learning disorder? A social one?
And then, after weeks of teaching Romeo and Juliet to disinterested, well, mostly disinterested 9th graders, I sit down to take a phone call from a parent. I had made a decision that could possibly benefit my students on their final exam, provided that for this last week each of them paid attention, worked hard, and participated. On the last day before the final, a few students chose to, well, rest their weary eyes. It seemed unfair to punish the entire class, so I simply decided to disallow those students from the potential benifit.
I wonder if, as a parent, I would phone a teacher who chose this path if it were my daughter. Would I not understand that for every action, consequences--good and bad--will follow. Well, what if baby Tate had never done anything like that before? Would it change the outcome?
I can only imagine how much I will want to stand up for and defend baby Tate should she ever be in a situation that is trying. I can't imagine my parents defending me in that situation. Heck, the first time I received a detention was in the 8th grade. My Spanish class had been talkative, and the teacher was frustrated. "That's it. No more talking. The next person to talk will get a detention. Now, turn to pagina 34 (yes, I still remember the exact page--now.)" Well, with all of the talking, I missed the page. I didn't raise my hand to ask...instead, I called over the settling din, "Que pagina?"
"Andres, you will have a detention tomorrow." I explained it to my parents. They said I should have raised my hand--they were right.
Parental involvement in the education is essential, but at some point, teachers have to be allowed to adminster their directives the way they want. And at some point, parents have to allow kids to learn responsibility.


At 6:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how you'll be as a parent: like you are as a teacher, except more. You'll love her more, you'll work harder for her good, you'll not give up with her even longer than you won't give up with a student, you'll encourage her more, you'll be prouder of her. You'll be more frustrated when she chooses poorly, you'll be more hurt when she doesn't value what you value.

But most of that is a long way off.

For the next few months, here's what's coming: you will want to be with her as many minutes as possible. You will cherish and protect your wife even more than now. You will look at her silently for a long time.

It's very, very good.

At 4:56 PM , Blogger EdWonk said...

The one moment that you'll never forget as long as you live is the first time that you lay eyes on your child... :-)

At 4:09 PM , Blogger Dan Edwards said...

Fatherhood is exciting....There is no book that explains everything about it, but here is this: Be there. Love your child, listen to your child, play with your child, instruct your child.

I learned very quickly, they have a mind of their own. You have to work with that. You can encourage, nurture and love, but in the end, it is THEIR mind that decides what is going to happen.

Oh, and start stockpiling diapers now. They seem to be getting more expensive.

Good luck with the upcoming birth of your first child!


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