Education Is the Difference
Oct 29, 2016 Other 1644 Views
Education truly is the difference, the difference between a successful future and one that is not so bright, the difference between a well-paying job and one that pays just enough to exist, the difference in job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction. No, these generalizations are not always true, but most frequently they are. A high school graduate earns more over a lifetime than one who drops out; a two-year post high school degree most often yields higher earnings than a high school graduate. A four-year degree (which often requires five, six, seven, or more years) trumps the first two. And post-bachelor degrees lead in turn to greater salaries and increased opportunities. Education is the difference. Knowledge is powerful.
With graduation season upon us, it is never more important than now to stress the value of education to younger students. Beginning at birth, high academic expectations are a must. I am not condoning the helicopter Mom who hovers and shoves or the "live your live vicariously through my dreams" Dad, but rather the parents and siblings who encourage education by example, through conversation, and by insisting that children learn and learn well. Even if a parent struggled in school, or better yet because s/he struggled in school, instilling a love of learning produces positive, life-long results.
So what can you do you help your son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, niece or nephew, or cousin? The first requirement is attendance. I see kindergarteners who miss twenty, thirty, forty, and fifty days of school and then their parents wonder why the wee one is having trouble with understanding. Missing one day of school leaves gaps, imagine the enormous hole left by multiple days of non-attendance? Yes, kids get sick and family emergencies arise, but it is essential that parents hold their children accountable for the lessons of the day. Even though the teaching will never match what happened in the classroom, it is absolutely vital.
Now that your child attends school every day, you must be sure that the morning begins after a solid night of sleep followed by a nutritious breakfast. I am appalled at students who tell me that they went to bed at midnight or later because they were watching movies or playing video games. When roused at seven, they are exhausted and so fall back asleep, don't eat, race off to school arriving late and thus missing the opening of the day's lesson. Already behind and tired, the best learning conditions are non-existent. Bedtime is 8:00 or 9:00. While secondary students may stay up later, there needs to be a limit to late-night as adolescents require eight hours of sleep or more to be fully alert and ready for instructional challenges and maximum mental intake.
Kids also come to school hungry - how can this be in a land of plenty? - with a cup of purchased coffee in hand. Young children need milk, juice, protein, fruits, and vegetables, not caffeine. The same holds for older students. We have an obesity problem in our country because of over eating of high-calorie, low nutritional food. The future is frightening when you think of all of the potential health hazards that come from poor nutrition.
So you solved the sleep issue with a set bedtime and the nutritional problem by ridding cupboards and frig of junk, replacing it with healthy products. When food is fresh like apples and carrots you can be pretty sure of ingredients. Packaged products must have no more than four words in the list of ingredients on the label, and the first three cannot be any form of sugar (nor should the fourth but sometimes it is a necessity). The ingredients must be words you know, understand, and can pronounce. While at first grocery shopping will require extra time as you struggle through labels to discern what lies within and seek out the nutritious ingredients for newly discovered, healthy recipes, but in the end, happiness and health will reign.
Homework completion is an absolute. I agree that sometimes these assignments are of mysterious educational value (like Seek and Find Puzzles or look up and copy the definition of miscellaneous vocabulary terms), but setting an example early with a predetermined homework time and allowing your child to work independently are critical. If the homework is too hard this may indicate a failure to listen on the part of your child or the teacher may not have taught a concept to the point that children can work alone and succeed. If you are vigilant you will recognize potential confusion and misunderstanding and thus guide your child safely through material. The trick with homework is offering adequate support without doing the homework for your child. Children are wily and a little whining draws parents into a web of completing the work while the child drifts off into space instead of learning and learning to apply knowledge.
Education is the difference. A solid education opens doors, windows, and peepholes of opportunity. And parents are most often the determining factor in a child's attitude and outlook about school. Sleep, healthy eating, listening, and homework are key to success now and in the future.