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Getting your children interested in school
Author: W. K. Hayes
An education on education!
When my kids were little, I used to preach to them about the value of a good education. I’m fairly certain I turned blue in the face trying to get the point across to them that, without a good education, they would have a hard life.
One of my favorites was telling them, “A’s equal good money while F’s stands for Food Stamps because they'll be working at a fast food place for the rest of their lives if all they get are bad grades”.
On another occasion, I sat them down with a newspaper and had them go job hunting for jobs that they qualified for, knowing they didn’t qualify for a single one without an education.
On both occasions, I failed miserably to get my point across and those were some good ideas. Needless to say, being a parent is an uphill battle and one where the fight seems never ending.
Still, because I love my children very, very much my determination overwhelmed my sanity and so, I went all out. While the kids were in school, I sat down and spent the entire morning and early afternoon devising a plan that would get their attention. My speech was prepared, well-written and well thought out.
They came in from school and I sent them straight to the kitchen table, as their sighs echoed off the walls, they knew I had drummed up yet, another speech for them.
My second-oldest daughter tried to find a positive by saying, “At least he hasn’t asked us to clean, yet”.
“Give him a minute”, the oldest one replied sarcastically.
“No, I’m not going to ask you guys to clean…just yet. There’s something I want to talk to you girls about”, I told them as they flopped down in their seats around the table.
Even my youngest daughter, who was usually great about being open-minded had a look of sour grapes on her face as she slumped into a chair.
I sat down at the head of the table, took a second to look at my three little angels that resembled disgruntled workers at a union meeting and told them, “Girls, for years I have been trying to teach you guys the importance of on education…”
“We just left school…do we have to talk about this now”, the oldest one whined while interrupting me with her sisters eagerly agreeing with her.
After I rolled my eyes, I replied, “We can knock this out of the box now or…yea, we’re doing this now”.
“But, dad…I have a ton of homework”, she whined again.
Finally I snapped. Yea, I admit it…I snapped like a twig. After working all morning long on trying to find a way to help them understand the importance of making good grades in school, for their own sake and yes, I was next to breaking out the duct tape and wrapping their lips up in it.
I told them, “Look here…I’ve worked on this speech all morning long and you WILL suffer through it”.
I sat back, folded my arms across my chest and told them, “Now, if all the peanuts in the peanut gallery will hush, we can get through this a little quicker, but this conversation is going to happen so, get over it!"
“Fine”, the middle-one replied, as she rolled her eyes.
“Fair enough”, I grumbled. “Now then, from this day forward I want you kids to think about school as being the first job you have in life”.
“But, we don’t get paid”, the oldest one remarked.
Yes, having an intelligent conversation with three unhappy young girls was like sitting in on a debate at the U.N. I looked at her and replied, “That is my point exactly. School really is your first job in life and depending on how well you do now will determine how much money you will make later in life. If you get bad grades, you will find yourself working for minimum wage and that is not the life you want”. Then, trying to get back to my well thought-out speech, I went on to tell them, “Think of it like this; the key to making your dreams come true is to get a good education. An education is the doorway to making your dreams come true and all you have to do is work for it. Hard work, determination and a solid education are key to making your dreams come to past”. I also explained to them that a wise football player will finish college before going pro. That way, if he gets injured and cannot play anymore, he still has an education to fall back on”.
After a moment, I asked them, “What do you want to do with you life”?
The oldest replied, “I want to be a singer”.
I’m totally good with my daughter singing…granted, when she first started out she sounded like a cat sliding down a chalk board but as she got older, she really has proven herself to be an exceptional singer.
The second one wasn’t too sure about what she wanted to do although she had considered being a lawyer, at the time.
My youngest little angel has always known what she wanted to do with her life. She wants to be a marine biologist specializing in Orca, Killer Whales. She knew this long before she even started school.
Sometimes, I wonder if my kids know how much I truly love them. Technically, they are my step-daughters from a previous marriage but that doesn’t mean anything to me. Forever and a day, they will always be my children in my heart.
That conversation took place about eight or nine years ago. Today, the oldest has decided to become a nurse since she loves helping others like her dear old dad. The second-oldest plays ice hockey in a women’s league…goalie, no less and is rightfully proud that her team took second place in the championship last year. As for the youngest one, she will graduate high school after this year and she’s already found her college in Florida where she will be attending. Her major, Marine Biology.
Ultimately, I’m proud of all three of my little girls…oh, and they did keep straight A’s throughout school as best they could and the older two are in college! For me, it was nice that I never had to talk to them about the education again unless it was helping them with their homework. After that conversation, they have done nothing but make me proud when it comes to school. Although, they probably figured it was better to get great grades versus suffering through another one of my, 'Speeches'.
Thank you for reading my article and when you talk to your kids about the importance of their education, make absolutely sure they understand why they have to go to school. The worst thing a parent can do is tell their child to do something, or not do something, without explaining why. Children can be reasoned with even if it takes twenty times of trying, like it does me. Have a great day and thanks again. I love you girls!
Update: Dec. 23rd, 2016
Since this article was published, much has changed in the lives of my three not-so little, little girls. I'm always very, super proud of them and my sons. Raising kids was never meant to be easy but should always be taken seriously.
Getting kids interested in school is one of the most important aspects of raising a child but if you are not interested, then why should they be? Remember with your kids, everything is, "Monkey see-Monkey do".