Encourage lifelong learning
What skills will your child need in order to be successful in the
future? It is not possible to anticipate what the world will be like by
the time today's children enter the workforce. Take a backward look to
your own aspirations when you were in elementary school.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Did your current job exist when you were a child? If it did, were
you aware of it? Look at some job titles on a small stack of business
cards I have in front of me: senior systems analyst, worldwide change
manager, bureau chief, director of product management, humor consultant,
membership account executive, principal player, group benefits
specialist, and facilitator/support coordinator. How did the people in
these jobs train for them if the jobs didn't exist when they were
children? My point is this: we can't teach the specific skills that will
be necessary because
we do not know the jobs of the future. But we can teach our children the
joy, wonder, and adventure that comes from learning - that there are
fascinating and wonderful things to discover and to know. We can
encourage the development of curiosity. We can show, by our own example,
what it is like always to be willing and eager to learn and try
something new. Furthermore, we can demonstrate that if we make a
mistake, we can learn from it and move forward with a positive attitude
to our next challenge. If we teach our children always to be curious about learning
new things and to be willing to make mistakes while they are doing so,
then we are teaching them how to prepare for their future.
Funding for education
How many rolls of wrapping paper, boxes of chocolate, and
magazine subscriptions have you purchased or sold in the name of
fundraising for your child's school? How many silent auctions, book
sales, bake sales, and rummage sales have you attended or helped to
organize? Your participation in these events sends a strong message to
your children that you are an active supporter of your school and your
child's education, which is a good thing.
The media pays a lot of attention to each state's per-pupil
spending. States are compared and ranked. Parents in states with higher
spending are deceiving themselves into a false sense of security if they
think that they, therefore, don't have anything to worry about. Parents
in states with lower spending feel hopeless and powerless.
There is something that no amount of fundraising, grant-writing,
or taxes can pay for. That is the time that parents spend with their
children. The only kind of spending that counts is the amount of time
that parents spend with their children!