What if parents received report cards? What if after each quarter or semester a report card was sent home from school that graded the effort and ability of a student’s parents?
I know some would shudder at the thought of such an idea.
Those who have or were parents of school-aged children, what grade do you think you would receive? Let’s not worry about who is grading and spend time arguing that point. All we need to think about is what grade you really think would come home with your child.
I know some parents will give themselves all A’s in effort, ability, quality time, nurturing, assistance with homework, life skills and play. Most of those parents might be shocked to see a real report card.
My children have folders for their school work that they bring home and return to school most days. In the packets the teachers have put the slogan: “Thank you for helping your child succeed.” It made me laugh. Then I realized they are not joking.
My mother spent time in my daughter’s classroom a couple years ago to work with some of the students with school work. She donated her time to help not her granddaughter, but other kids in the class. The students were identified by the teacher as needing some assistance.
In a perfect world, my mother’s request to help out at the school would have been politely declined because it was not needed. In a perfect world, their own parents would be spending the extra time to help their child succeed.
This school year our son has excelled in math but struggled in reading. My wife and I rolled up our sleeves and asked his teacher how we can help him succeed. The look on the teacher’s face was the same kind of stunned bewilderment that likely will come to Vikings fans if their team ever wins the Super Bowl.
OK, maybe I am stretching the truth a bit. But not much.
Again with the help of my mother, we have worked with our son on reading. We have spent some time here and there on his reading, even purchasing some children’s books on the iPad that offer more interactive learning. No one is going to hand us a medal, nor are we asking for one. The reward for our small amount of time with our son is showing positive results each week.
In short, we are being parents. We are being there for our child. It is what parents do.
Many parents do the same, if not more, with their children. Unfortunately, participation is not 100 percent, and there is no reason why it should be any less than that.
Educators have to work with a unique brand of parenting these days that goes from uberinvolvement to complacency. Some parents believe their child does no wrong and deserves the best because they are “winners,” and if they are being accused of bullying other students, those kids are just weak and the school needs to stop picking on them. Other parents subscribe to children as requiring similar care to pets with regular feedings and an occasional pat on the back.
Why have we, as parents, slumped to this level? Has the divorce rate impacted us in such a way that custody battles and alimony zap our parenting energies? And if so, what is the excuse for the parents that are still together?
Maybe the media could play a part in encouraging change. What if ESPN had an award show honoring outstanding fathers who go above and beyond to help their children succeed? It would be a nice change from the 24-hour-a-day coverage of the NFL draft.
Personally, I would rather watch a show honoring good fathers than some former player I have never heard of speculate about who the Packers are going to select in the sixth round.
I can deal with people telling me I am a bad writer or poor businessman. Receiving a parent report card with all C’s would hit me between the eyes. I know there are others who feel this same way.
The end of another school year is just around the corner. If you think your parenting grade could improve, the summer is a great time to work on it.
Wade Petrich is the editor of the Hermantown Star. He can be reached at 727-0419 or via email at