Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Listen, Trust and Communicate

We all know that September means a few things:  football, shorter days, dropping temps and school!  For me the biggie is school!  Personally it doesn't get better than the first day of school.  Parents are here taking pictures, students are excited and I can feel the electricity in the air.

As the school year begins it is common nature to have your child come home and you as the parent are very curious about how things are going at school.  What my experience has taught me is that the answers you receive from students can differ depending on the day, the hour or even the minute.  Take my son for example, the first day he was very excited, but he tried hard to play it cool.  When I asked him how his day was he said, "Good."  Then when I started asking specifics I got more information.  I began saying, "Did you have a chance to meet anyone new?"  or  "Was something challenging today?"  or  "What was the best memory of your teacher or class?"  These questions create more thought and a simple, "Good," just doesn't cut it.

Yet after you ask the questions you must be ready to accept the answers.  Some students will tell all the wonderful things about school and life.  Other kids may not, they may have had a good day, but one incident has put them in a poor mood.  This is where three things become essential.

First, it is human nature to protect our children and try our best to make life wonderful.  We must be realistic and understand that bad days occur.  This is okay, I use bad days or bad moments as learning experiences.  My advice to parents is listen.  Listen to your child, love your child and allow them the freedom to share and express themselves.  Too often parents try to fix everything.  I believe listening is more powerful than fixing.

Second, this is the tough one for some parents.  I strongly urge parents to trust the professionals.  Educators are not perfect, but they are dedicated and amazing people.  It is vital to give teachers the benefit of the doubt.  If your child believes that you will rescue them every time, they are likely to use this to their advantage.  What I have learned is that there are always two sides to every story.  If you immediately rescue and go to bat for your child you may be missing an important piece of the puzzle.  Please trust that the educators are being professional and handling your student with care and compassion.

Third, the most essential thing you can do all year is communicate with your child's teacher and school.  The stronger your communication is the more likely your child will have a successful year.  Don't be afraid to email, call or ask for a face-to-face meeting.  Educators understand.

The year will be successful if you do these three things, Listen, Trust and Communicate.

This week's big question:  Do you believe that failure is okay?  Have you ever failed?

Articles Worth Reading:

Why I hated my child's 1st grade teacher  shared by @BBuff43011

When an adult took a standardized test  by @bgiourme

5 Bad Educational Assumptions  shared by @klnielsen74

8 Good Morning Questions That Create Happiness  by @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

Fantastic Video and Song!  Teaching all people to BE BRAVE! (4 min)

Parenting Tips on discipline. (3 min)

Touching Story I shared with our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.  Positive Attitude goes a LONG WAY!     (7 min)