I don't think that I have ever said anything about parenting. Mainly because I don't have much to say about it that would mean anything. Frankly, I'm still only 24, single, and very much not looking at the possibility of children at anytime soon. (insert sarcastic "single" remark from the crowd) [insert my "I'm ok being like Paul!" counter-remark here] Not to mention, I am very much still influenced by my parents leading at many levels. So, generally, my initial reaction to some of the things that parents do is usually frustration. That's the brutal honesty.
However, lately, I've been in a number of conversations that have allowed me to see into part of the world that is parenting and the things that they are required to wrestle with on a daily basis. Because, what I didn't know about parents is that they are actually world-class acrobats and world-champion wrestlers. And in most cases, we, kids, never make the job any easier. Often, we can make it even more difficult.
See, you know those times that you are frustrated with your parents because they wouldn't let you go to that party, it wasn't because they wanted to ruin your life, not allow you to do anything, EVER, or make sure that you remembered who's house it is. The fact is, they wanted to make sure that you had a solid excuse as to why you couldn't go near that alcohol.
And that time that they told you to get off the phone and be "here," it wasn't because they were sick of you texting across the room to your girlfriend/boyfriend (although, from a big brother, that is absolutely, ridiculously, annoying), it's not that they wanted you to be cut off from the rest of the world, or that they wanted to make sure that you had to be "that kid" that has the terrible "Nazi" parents. Maybe they actually wanted to know what was going on in your life and just wanted to say that they loved you.
The crazy thing to me is that it has been so easy for me to just identify with the students in these situations. It has been easy because I was that student. I was the one who put up the fight, exploded when I couldn't do what I wanted and made sure the my point got across no matter what it took to get it across. Recently, I have been able to see a whole new perspective as I work with parents to begin to discover how to reach their students.
Hey Students, your parents really do care about you.
Hey Parents, your students really don't understand that you care.
It's time we begin to think critically on either side of this equation.