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Sunday, August 28, 2011

School Is Starting And I Feel Sorry For Kids With Dumb Parents

Dad didn't know any of these last night.
Yellow buses are appearing early in the morning, school grounds are clean and landscaped, classrooms await nervous, anxious and excited students. New ideas, new thoughts, new knowledge all lie ahead. With the work done by teachers and active participation and support from parents, the children of this school year should thrive. But, I have to pause for a moment and look at reality. School is starting and I feel sorry for kids with dumb parents. 

Most kids don't mind school. Some absolutely hate it. Then, there are those that really dive in and make something out of their time in the classroom. Most of the kids who do well in school are supported and encouraged by their parents.

Students who excel have designated areas to do homework at home. They may have a specific time when they are supposed to do their homework. Their parents check the homework. All kids have moments of laziness and their homework output turns into scribbles, poor or incomplete answers - even their names are missing from their assignments - which means they probably won't get credit for the work. It takes another set of responsible eyes to check a child's work, even if it just a review. The parent doesn't have to correct all the wrong answers, but that sure helps. These are excellent teaching moments.

What I've described is an ideal model. If you have six kids, a big accomplishment might be getting them all to school with clothes on. Lunches? OH CRAP! Homework review can be a challenge in a large family.

But there are lots of families where there are only one or two children in the family and the child could really use some help with their homework. Or the child should be required to DO the homework. I feel sorry for kids with dumb parents.

Dumb parents are the product of dumb parents. It gets passed along. Stupidity is the result of bad choices and bad habits. Even if we had no schools or school system, we have public libraries. Books on every subject imaginable are available for those who seek more knowledge. We have the Internet. You can Google anything you dream up and learn about it. There are free courses online. You could find a smart kid and tag along with him and have him teach you. But if you have dumb parents, you really have an uphill climb.

What are dumb parents? Parents who never completed high school or earned a GED. Whatever schooling they had was enough, and they probably haven't done much to increase their knowledge in any subject matter since they left school.

Dumb parents put themselves first. They watch TV and shoo away their children when they need help with their homework. Dumb parents spend their evenings at the bar or hanging out with friends, leaving their child or children with relatives, the other partner/spouse, friends, etc., so they can have fun. Meanwhile, the poor kid is looking for old Tivo'd Seasame Street episodes to find out what letter comes after "S".

Dumb parents don't teach their children the value of an education because it didn't matter to them. Dumb parents don't exercise discipline in the home and make sure that books are brought home, homework is done and grades are kept up or are improving.

Dumb parents teach their kids poor social skills. They speak inarticulately, have weak or limited vocabularies, can't write, can't spell, mumble when they speak or use some other dialect of their area that no one except other dummies can understand.

Dumb parents don't know how to manage their money, either. They take their kids to the gas station to buy lottery tickets, not to the bank to show them the value of saving. When it comes time to put a new battery in the car, the dumb parent has to sell something on craigslist to get the money together - but wouldn't think to stop buying beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

Dumb parents do really dumb things, too. They use drugs and alcohol openly around their children. I knew one guy whose 3 year-old daughter heard a knock at the door and she said, "Daddy, flush the roaches."

Dumb parents cuss and swear freely with their children. No wonder first graders will tell their teachers, "Who the F you talking too?" "Teacher, I need to leave to take a shit." Nice.

If you're a dumb parent, you're probably not reading this, because reading is too much effort.

Although, you could be a dumb parent. You just didn't get the education you probably should have. But you can change. You can make steps forward to help your children because your deficiencies will only be passed on to them, unless they are very strong-willed and full of desire and ambition.

Work with your children. Read with them. Kids are so non-judgmental - unless you taught that to them at an early age. But if Daddy can't read too well, make a game out of learning to read with your kids. The time you spend with them will have more value and importance in their lives than you can ever imagine.

You can learn anything. But the most important thing you need to learn is that time with your children is number one. Helping them is number two. And being an example and role model to them is number three.

We owe it to our children to give them the best chance they can have to compete in today's world. Education sets apart the winners from the losers.

Allow a child to pursue their passions. If they love math, let them run with it. Do all you can to help that flourish and grow.

Keep a dictionary at the dinner table. Learn a new word every day. There are so many simple things you can do to help your children. Don't settle for being a dumb parent. Don't let your friends settle for being dumb parents. Speak up when you see something you think is not right for the children. Silence does nothing except keep the cycle of dumbness going.

As the yellow buses hum by in the morning, I know that school is starting and I feel sorry for kids with dumb parents.

Related article:
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