Holding to Understanding

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                Recently, we’ve heard of a teacher being let go for not giving points for work not turned in.  Questions arose about points given for being in class, even though no work was accomplished.  Others shared that the children must do the work to earn credit. 

                Thankfully, I grew up during a time when America was number one in the world, and I am very thankful for this, though, at the time, I complained about work as with all my friends.  The teachers (well-educated teachers) taught, we listened, and we did the work.  When we failed to turn in an assignment, we garnered no credit.  On rare occasions, if we pleaded with the teacher, promising to turn in all our work, we got to turn in the assignment late, but at far reduced credit.  Sometimes, and rarely, a parent might plead with a teacher, and on rare occasions, the student might get to complete the assignment, but again, at far reduced credit.  However, if the student again failed to turn in work, no extra time was given.  They just failed the class.   And towards the end of the quarter, some students would ask for extra credit, so a few points might be earned, enough to get over, but the extra credit was more often more difficult than the regular assignments, and some students had to go to summer school if they wished to pass onto the next grade.  Some didn’t make it. 

                These were very good lessons in life.  If I had work, I had to do it.  If I complained to my parents, they would suggest I work harder, get started earlier, and read the materials over.  The responsibility was placed upon our shoulders.   Hey, if other kids could do the work, I should be able to do as well.

                What I learned is I do as well as I do.  No one was going to give me anything I hadn’t earned.  But if I did well, then the work showed.  Thankfully, when I went to college, I put in the time.  With additional time and work, I learned better ways of learning, but still garnering A’s.  I did the work.  I never asked for extra credit.  I just stood by what I had done or didn’t do.   Only one professor was horrible, but I did what I had to do to pass the class because it was mandatory.  Yes, if he didn’t like you, your grades suffered (I know this because my paper and a classmates were basically the same after we compared [After we got the grades.]).  She got an A.  I got a D.  So we knew something was up, for it happened time after time.  But I didn’t complain, just continued, and passed.  I learned something there.

                Our youth, in more often circumstances, are not learning the lessons of life.  If the youth don’t learn responsibility, think feelings are the only things that matter, how will they cope with life and the difficulties we all endure?  How will they handle work when the boss tells them they will soon be fired if they don’t shape up?  How will they teach their own future children responsibility if they don’t know it themselves?  Parents are the guardians of their children.  They must know who influences their children.  They must do this, love their children, but also hold them accountable for their efforts. 

                As one who has taught for many years, I have seen this.  Young people who walked into my room, thinking they would have the run of the class, quickly discovered a teacher who was determined, cared, but would always hold them responsible.  And when the class understood they had a teacher who cared, but would cut them no slack, they worked harder, and with time, their self-esteem increased, and they too healthy pride in doing well.   But with changing times, this is becoming more difficult.  We’re forgetting the lessons that our generation grew up with which leads to a higher probability for success.  But parents, who are the guardians, can lead their children to become successes in their own rights.  Mommy, Daddy, this work is too hard.  Well, dear, you better get started and reread the material.  By the way, until your grades improve, you’ve lost your video games and smart phone.  But that teacher’s too hard.  Welcome to the real world, honey.  Better get back to work.  And no, you’re friends cannot come over, until your grades improve.  Mom!!!  You want to lose more priveleges?  No, I’ll get to work (We don’t support learned helplessness.).  It’s a habit we build over a lifetime.  And it leads to greater success and self-esteem.  Love is also tough-love.          

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