Recently a series of observations were made by teachers who conduct virtual learning across various school districts. They began to discover some patterns and behaviors that were disturbing. Now before we get into the specifics, it is a given that parents want their children to succeed. They will necessarily get involved in this process of working with their children in healthy ways. However, there are some clear boundaries that parents should abide by and not step over. When violating these boundaries, parents are sending a very wrong message about integrity, or the lack of. And…they will cripple their children.
Now to the specifics. It was noted by some teachers conducting virtual classes (this is across the private and public school spectrum) that parents were inserting themselves during lesson time. By inserting, what we mean is that when a child was asked a question by his teacher, parents, sitting off camera, would provide the answer for their child.
Teachers also began to take note of some of the work that was being turned in by some of the virtual students. It was very clear that the work was not the product of the child. This could be determined by the superior quality of some submissions which far exceeded what a teacher would expect of a good student at that grade level. Teachers also began to notice scores on some exercises that went far beyond where a child had been in a particular subject area, such as reading, just a short time before.
Let’s stop right there. What is happening here? While children need to be learning how to take responsibility for their work, paying attention, and learning from mistakes, all of this is being robbed from that child by the very person that would want them to embrace these important traits. Parents who violate these boundaries are sacrificing their children’s ability to learn these traits just so that their children do not look bad. They want their children to get it right in the moment, to feel good about themselves. THIS is bad. Life is just not this way. Children need to experience failure. They need to have that feeling of disappointment for not getting the right answer. It is out of this experience that children, properly coached, grow to be better. To work harder. To pay closer attention. Feeling good about themselves should arise out of their overcoming a learning obstacle on their own merits.
Parents, ask yourselves. If this is you, yow long are you willing to do this? To be by your child’s side in their life and take away the difficulty? Are you going to move to the town where they are attending college to help them? Will you take a job near them to be there to help when they encounter difficulty in their career? I know. These are absurd questions. But they raise a more important question: Are you willing to let your child learn from failure? Learning is clothed in failure. Let them experience it. Scripture says this when it comes to experiencing failure:
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes. Psalm 119:71
Our Creator understands failure. Failure is a good thing. It brings our minds and hearts to a place where learning takes place. Let this be the road that your children travel. For their sake.
NOTE: Photo courtesy of Ralston Smith