RITE OF PASSAGE: Partnering
I think one of the huge problems today is the outsourcing of our children. Outsourcing became a way of business in the 1980s. If I can find a company that can make a part cheaper than I can, I will outsource that part, allowing the other company to take care of it for me.
Outsourcing is good for business . . . but not for parenting. We have become the generation that outsources almost everything in our children’s lives. We outsource their entertainment to Nintendo and Disney World. We outsource their spiritual growth to the church. We outsource their education to the schools. I read recently about parents who went to visit a professor at Harvard. Since their child had gotten a “C” in his class, they didn’t think he was doing a very good job teaching their child. Obviously, if he had been a better professor, she would have earned an “A.”
Since we outsource so many aspects of their lives, it is easy for us to blame someone else when our children don’t live up to our expectations. Instead of outsourcing, we need to return to the days of partnering-to work alongside those who are involved in our children’s lives and see what God can accomplish through us . . . together.
I have to be honest: you could not pay me enough to be a schoolteacher. I take my hat off to those who dedicate their lives and time to teach our children. As I have told you, I was not a very good student. It was not that I did not like school, it was just the principal of it. I still remember the day my principal grabbed me by the arm and shook me, yelling, “Walker, I think the devil’s got a hold of you!” I replied, “I think so, too!”
After 35 years of working with students, I have learned one thing. I now understand why animals eat their young: they do not want them to grow up to be teenagers. When I was a student, I was convinced my parents and the schoolteacher belonged to some type of secret torture society. My dad told me if I ever got a whipping at school, I would get one at home. I expected my teacher to tell me if I ever got a whipping at home, I would get one at school. I could not win. My parents and the teacher were a team.
Nowadays, it seems as though children and parents are teaming up to work against those who give their lives to teach. Read these actual excuses sent by parents to schoolteachers. (You might have to read through them twice to understand what they are really saying).
“My son is under the doctor’s care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.”
“Dear School: Please excuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and also 33.”
“Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.”
“Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.”
“Please excuse Harriet for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.”
“Mary could not come to school because she has been bothered by very close veins.”
“Sally won’t be in school a week from Friday. We have to attend a funeral.”
I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box, but I think the famous Ricky Ricardo line would apply here: “Lucy, you have some ‘splainin’ to do.” Parents, you need to realize that you are ultimately responsible for your child’s emotional, physical, mental and spiritual growth. Even a company that outsources production still puts its name on the box. How does your child show the marks of your influence on his life? Even more important, how does your family show the marks of . . . Jesus?
Our children need to learn that they are under the authority of the home and the school. Only when parents, educators and churches work together will our children have the guidance they need to grow into capable, responsible, self-reliant young men and women. However, as a parent, I am not going to let school get in the way of their education. The only outsourcing I want to do is on my knees, taking my children to the Source of all life and godliness.
Heavenly Father, please give me the wisdom I need as a parent. Help me to partner with my child’s teachers, pastors and other people of influence. Thank you for loving my child even more than I do.