Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kids these days...

Today is one of those days, where I question what is the world coming to and how am I supposed to do my part to make sure my kids don't get lost along the way. It started with grading exams. I am constantly amazed at the lack of effort conveyed by many people as far as their school work goes. As a college teacher, I'm hit in the face every semester with students who don't understand that it's not an acceptable excuse to "not be good at math". I won't get on my soap box about the comment in of itself being ridiculous. But somehow college age students going in to nursing programs and pre-med programs still have the idea that by using this excuse, I'm somehow going to take pity on them and just let them slide by. NO! If you can't pass a basic statistics class, I don't want you hooking up IV's full of who knows what to any body, I don't want you to be telling someone how many grams, (Oops! Should have been Milli-grams) of drugs to take. It's not safe.

Believe me, I have a heart for those who try. I know those people who are going to the tutoring lab and coming by during office hours to get help. These people will survive my class. It's the people who still think things should be handed to them on a plate. Just a note if a teacher is nice enough to give you a review day, DO NOT come in and ask "What's going to be on the exam?" and expect any answer other than something like "The materials covered in Chapters 1-6." Every semester, I go through the same thing. I somehow forget that these students aren't like me. They aren't sitting in their seats intimidated by the teacher in the front of the classroom. They aren't paralyzed by the idea of getting a B on an exam. And they aren't keeping tabs on homework assignments making sure not to miss a single one. I mean, can you imagine just not turning in a homework assignment? Incomprehensible. Maybe they've had teachers in the past that actually told them what was going to be on the exam.

So in addition to this little trip of craziness while grading (by the way, I stopped half-way through to let my anger subside before I continue), I was listening to KLOVE. I like the nice music in the background. So the DJ starts talking about how his daughter is hoping to stay on green so that she gets pancakes the following morning. Then he posed the question of how do you get your kids motivated to stay on green. (For those of you without young children around you in elementary school, apparently the newest system of getting your name on the board, like it was when I was in school, includes a green light which gets taken away for misbehavior, so that you then have a yellow light, more misbehavior gets a red light.) Then I started wondering, since when did kids need extra motivation to stay on green. Again, shouldn't the fear of getting to yellow be enough?! I know that I never wanted to get my name on the board, and didn't want my parents to hear about it even more.

So what has happened? And before those of you with small children get defensive about the tactics you use to get your kids to behave, I just want to clarify that I'm looking for answers. I want to raise Chaselyn to be the kid that stays on green because that's what's expected. Not the kid that is usually on yellow and feels entitled to some treat for being on green. I want to know how our parents seemed to have raised us with a respectable fear that now seems lacking. My mom always jokes that it was that she and my dad actually spanked me and so I was afraid. But I wasn't afraid of getting my butt whooped if I didn't make good grades. Spanking was for misbehavior, and really bad misbehavior from what I remember. Not a daily occurrence, just something to really make me think when things did not go as they should have. I think academically, most of my motivation came from trying to live up to my brothers. But why did they do well? And I know other families who didn't spank, and they raised smart, respectable kiddos too. So what are kids today missing? Is it too much self-esteem and not enough hard lessons of disappointment? Is it too many parents trying to be the cool parents and sacrificing discipline? Is it too many toys and overstimulation?

I need answers people! Chaselyn is growing too fast for me to wait to much longer to figure this stuff out. She already just laughs at my serious face when she's grabbing something she shouldn't.


  1. One word - Respect. Respect for yourself and for everyone else. How you teach this to a child...I have no idea. My father, who did a fantastic job teaching this to my brother and I, says you respect the child and they will respect you. I believe if you truly have respect for yourself and others, you will strive to do your best at everything.

    Just my two cents :)

  2. Since I don't currently have my own children to raise, I don't know that I can give advice that works at home. However, I know that in the classroom I set extremely high expectations and they rose to meet them. Screaming, hitting, or lying might be okay at home but it was never okay in my class. Disrespect simply wasn't an option. I remember going to college and being shocked that people didn't go to Sunday School. Growing up, not going hadn't been an option. Not turning in homework had never been an option. And when, in my blazing act of teen rebellion, I decided not to dress out for PE and therefore was in danger of failing, my mom was on the phone with the coach and then all over me in a heartbeat. I've never seen such fire in mom's eyes! It was never an option to fail. Our only choice was to succeed.
    In my opinion, some of what you're seeing in your classroom is parents teaching laziness. Parents aren't involved in school and don't check up on their child's progress and don't demand their absolute best. Therefore, when they get to college they don't demand the best out of themselves.
    I'm not sure I've helped much at all. Just set high expectations (like you already have) and don't accept anything but her best.
    (And a random side note - Chaselyn's laughing at your serious face might not be what you think. She's still learning to process emotions and she may laugh because she doesn't know what else to do or because she's still learning that you're not making silly faces at her. I've had 5 year olds who laugh when they're in trouble not because they were disrespectful but because they couldn't process any other emotion. Laughing was the easiest one to produce. Keep at it. I've seen you with your daughter. You are both EXCELLENT parents and she's going to be a delightful child - in every setting.)

  3. Thanks girlies! I think that you both pose excellent ideas. I'm just starting to worry, because I've seen people who I respect raise children who are nothing like them. I'm just not sure how respect and high expectations translates on a daily basis. Believe me, Stanton and I have high expectations, I'm just wondering how high is too high.

    Also, Allison, I know that Chaselyn laughing at me when I tell her no is because she doesn't understand. I know that it's not a malicious "I'll do what I want Mom" kind of laugh.