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Mom and Dad, It's OK to Parent Your Children

Contact: Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, 610-454-1538, 215-815-7716


OPINION, Dec. 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- Harold Naylor, co-founder of www.DiscoverChristianSchools.com, submits the following for publication and is available for comment:


Mom and Dad, It's OK to Parent Your Children
by Harold Naylor


As we come to the close of another year, we naturally look ahead to (and reflect upon) those things we hold near and dear. Our families rank #1 at the top of that list, and as we begin 2007, I am thinking about my own parenting abilities. A funny thing happens to parents on the way to raising our children to adulthood. When our children are around the age of 5 or 6 we are told that we are no longer able to educate our own children and that we must turn them over to the professionals who know better.

Why is that? We were perfectly able – and expected – to teach them to eat, walk, talk; and even potty-train them. When our child read their first Easy Reader or wrote their name, it was us parents, the ones with no formal education in education, who could rejoice in our combined effort. Amazingly, the “experiment” worked and, by the age of 5 years, we had ourselves a well-developed and capable little person ready to continue, not start, the education process.

Now, however, we have been convinced to leave the educating to the professionals, those with great credentials, but no stake in the outcome. The current state of American education is a result, I believe, of parents “handing over” their son or daughter to a system that they do not fully understand at best or, at worst, one that is working in opposition to our beliefs and values. Yes, values are taught in the local school; but are they yours?

So, because we are law-abiding and had an “OK” experience when we were young in the school system, we trot them off to register in the local public school without really stopping to ask some critical questions:

Why aren’t we more involved? The decision on how to educate our children is one of the most important we can make and we have only one chance to get it right. There are no “do overs” in these precious 13 years before college. Specifically, they will be educated for 16,000 hours, a tremendous time to form thought patterns and thinking skills. Our children deserve the best we can give, which implies that we are as involved with the what, who, how, when, and why, not just the where which is usually down the street at the closest public school.

What are the critical questions a parent must ask? If you are religious (as most Americans claim to be) then you would naturally desire an educational environment consistent with your view of the world. This may cause confusion for some, but how we look at the world figures prominently into the education decision. For example, is there a standard of right and wrong; or does everyone have his or her own handle on the truth?

Is the goal of education only to graduate, go to a good college, get a well-paying job so you can get a lot of “stuff” and retire at an age when you can still travel? If so, the decision is pretty straightforward – look at the pedigree only. But have you ever asked yourself, “Is that all there is to life?”

The questions go on, but do we know the answers? This thinking is getting tiring and here is why from Dr. Albert Mohler:
“In the name of personal liberation and financial necessity (fueled by a consumerist culture), mothers followed fathers out of the household and into the marketplace and workforce. Thus many "latch-key" children raise themselves. Their parents (when they have two) arrive home late, tired, and more focused on their jobs than the family.

Thus, the major messages coming from the culture signal that the family is a negotiable unit made up of persons who happen to live together, but who receive their primary fulfillment in life outside the kinship unit. The individual with autonomous rights is supreme and the family, with its various obligations, is a temporary responsibility at best.”

There you have it. Leave the child alone and hope for the best. After all, when they are grown adults, we have satisfied our obligation.

For the sake of your children and the grandchildren who may or may not come to visit, get and stay involved in every dimension of the education process and watch the fruit that effort will bear.

Harold Naylor is the co-founder of www.DiscoverChristianSchools.com, a nationwide web initiative to connect parents with schools and engage them in a dialogue about their children's future.