Sunday, July 3, 2011

What Does It Mean to "Provide"?

When we talk about providing for our children most of us think about food, shelter and clothing, but what else do we need to provide?
Our kids need more than the basics to survive. They look to parents as their first role model and teacher in life. What role model are we providing? When they get to school they look to their teachers as role models and purveyors of important information. What are we giving them?
Providing for our children means giving them a sense of value for human life, whether it be their own or someone else's.  When we become eclipsed with core standards, standardized tests and the introduction of too much technology into education, we loose track of the importance of the human-ness of raising a child.
Our children are not machines. They are not investments. They are not coming off an assembly line. They are not guinea pigs to be tested on. They are flesh and blood beings, with hearts that need nourishment and brains that need guidance.
How are we providing it?
My greatest goal as a parent is to inspire my children to feel confident and happy in their lives, no matter what they decide to do.  This means that every day I strive to lead a principled life, one that demonstrates value toward every member of my family and community. It means that when faced with difficult decisions, a bad day or a stressful situation, I have to remember that my actions influence them. In fact my reaction to life is a far more powerful influence than any reading, math or writing lesson they will ever receive.  The imprint of what I show them will last throughout their lives. It will effect their decision, their relationships and their success.
If we demonstrate to them that their value is based on test scores, percentiles and the number of friends they have on Facebook, they will be forever influenced in this direction. They will lead their lives in a such a way as to make these things their most important goals, their greatest accomplishments.  Is that what we want?  Is this going to be the kind of person that looks with compassion and care toward humanity, a person that looks to serve and care for others?
Providing an atmosphere of respect for human life, ideas, emotions and interactions is what will drive us successfully through the twenty-first century.  What are you providing today?

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said, Meg. We need our children to be more than the sum of their test scores. Kindness and compassion are the "soft values" that don't get measured in academic progress reports, but as you say, will make the difference between a meaningful, happy life for our kids, and a world fit to live in. Thanks for sharing. You've made my day...