I believe I was a good teacher before I was a parent. I believe there are many wonderful teachers who are not parents.
However, becoming a parent changed me as a teacher. Knowing there are parents who feel about every child as I feel about mine is a powerful lens through which to see my students. Especially certain ones on certain days.
I have never really thought about fear being a motivating factor for parents but it is. Fear we aren't raising them right. Fear if I don't deal with this issue and help my child overcome this character flaw that it is something he will have problems with the rest of his life. And yet, as my husband reminds me, there is a verse in the Bible for me. "Perfect love casteth out fear." I have to let my children go if I love them. When we overprotect we send them the message we think they are incompetent and incapable. It is a constant struggle for me to let go. I have a 16 and 15 year old and with them (more than with my 10 year old) it is a daily struggle. I have great kids. Sometimes I think their greatest flaw is an imperfect Mom who is afraid. This post hits home with me. Keep writing!
Thanks Chris, for a well-timed post, as I just phoned a parent asking to do a home visit for her son who is getting into the habit of ditching class. He's given her the fits the past two years and in talking with her previously I can see her pain as she thinks back to the days when she held him in the crooks of her arms.
In the last 17 months I've gone from where you were (fearless) to being a parent of two (scared out of my mind). If I could make one addition to your post it would be that most of us have not only thought, "I will keep you safe," but more than likely actually said it out loud. I know I have.
As both a parent and student in a teaching program, I have sometimes been frustrated by the lack of empathy I see in other student teachers. Thanks for breaking this down to help us see the parent side more clearly and remind us that we all are on the same side. Teens especially can be quite gifted at compartmentalizing and the teen a parent sees at home often looks quite different than the teen at school.
Your article, “Parenting, Fear, and the Crook of our Arms,” was a very true article that really captures how student and parents feel, from your own experience. You mentioned you were always not very scared of the world, and then you became a parent. Not that I have ever have kids but, I can relate because I have to take care of my own belongings, almost like a child. Sometimes I see my phone as a child to me because I care so much if an accident occurs and my phone is damaged. It was really heart-felt when you explained how a normal parent feels about his children. I never really looked at it that way but parents can be over reactive to many things a lot of the times. Parents do care a bunch when it comes to grades. In another article, “Getting Rid of Grades,” by Will Richardson he mentions how many urgent and concerned questions he received from parents when Richardson tried his new grading theory. There’s just more proof to back up that parents really do care about their kids. It seems that parents really do try to do what you think they do, they examine every possible situation to make sure that you cannot be harmed in any way. Nearly all kids in the world say that their parents are too controlling and need to let them do more activities with friends. My friends are always complaining about how they cant do something because of their parents or how much they are going to rebel from their parents or for how long. Over all, I think your article is a captivating article that examines all sides of the parent-son/daughter relationships.
Mr. Lehmann I understand what you mean when you said "crook of our arms" because being a kid I know my parents want the best for me. Sometimes my parents are really annoying and I feel like they are always in my case about everything. I hope every kid in this world can experience what they're parents prespective because you couldn't remember anything when you were a baby. When you were in the crooks of your mothers arms. I understand how after you became a father the dangerous things you felt weren't dangerous you suddenly feel is important. Now your not just worrying about yourself but now your kid. This relates to education because school also have to have safety rules so the kids wont be in any harm. School should be a place where parents can trust and feel safe about letting there kids to be away from them. If I was a parent I would be glad that there is a place like school. This relates to the world because everyone has experienced childhood. When your a child or a teenager like me you wont let your parents stop what you want to do. Sometimes parents can be so annoying and they wont stop lecturing you when you do a small thing but they do that because they want the best for you. I have learned that parents don't want their kids to grow up that fast. So any parent no matter how much you dislike them they will always love you and want to be in the crooks of their arms.
It really is difficult to explain to children and young adults. Like you mentioned, I really don't think that they will fully understand until they have their own kids. With that in mind it's important to establish good communication habits at a young age, because I think that will help you when it comes time to try and explain more complicated things later on in the future.
Fear. That is the one emotion that a parent will do anything to protect their child. Fear is perhaps one of the greatest motivators. This post explained to me why I have reacted to my children the way I have. This was an aha moment! Reading this post helped me understand the parents that I have worked with while teaching. If only I could go back in time with this new perspective I believe the conversations with these concerened parents would probaby be spoken differently. Through knowledge comes more power. I now have power through this knowledge of fear to help my own family, parents and students. Thank you!
I couldn't agree with you more. It's the love for the child that is so strong that it results in this fear... fear of things that weren't a big deal before until you have a child. Parents have to communicate and be part of the teenagers life. It takes effort on the parents part to understand their teenagers but it is very rewarding especially when they are all grown up.