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Black Community Opinions

Local Voices: How Parents Can Support Our Schools

By John L. Horton

When it comes to (successfully) raising children, we must fulfill the important “roles” of parent, protector, provider, and promisor.

It has been said that the family is the original and best department of health, education, welfare…and salvation. I couldn’t agree more.

To prepare their children and themselves for the 21st century, parents must become more broadly involved and deeply entrenched in the education process. Only then can they hope to raise self-confident and self-reliant young people who are ready and able to take over their own responsibilities and obligations in the forthcoming millennium.

For beginners, parents must get their children to fully understand the importance of a “good education” for the 21st century. Children will need a good education, because it will determine their very lifestyle, standard of living, and eventual outcome in life.

Children need to understand that an inadequate education will bring them shattered dreams, broken promises and hopeless futures. Parents should arm their children with the knowledge that “achievable dreams” are built upon the cornerstone and foundation of a good education. Children need to be reminded often that enlightenment, employability, attainment, and empowerment all come from the “fruits of a good education.”

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Moreover, parents need to facilitate their children’s capacity to be in a “teachable condition” when they come to school. Basically, this can be accomplished by parents ensuring that their children/students do three simple, but extremely important, tasks: (1) attend school on a regular basis; (2) properly behave themselves; and (3) complete class work and homework to the best of their ability. It’s that simple, but yet so difficult for some parents and their children to achieve. However, these fundamentals must be in place for the proper education of children to occur.

From a personal and professional perspective, I know that in-depth parental involvement can empower most children to overcome almost any barrier or obstacle. In my dealings as a parent and professional, I have found the key component of student school success to be parental involvement. Overall, parental involvement is the glue that holds together the collaborative relationship between student-teacher-parent.

Broadly speaking, without the parent/home support, the “triangle” will not stand – never has, and never will. For it is a “human and mathematical” impossibility. When it comes to (successfully) raising children, we must fulfill the important “roles” of : parent, protector, provider, and promisor.

Much of the “education success solution” is in the homes of students and parents. If it is to be, it is up to them. Parents can no longer afford to remain passive and silent, and hope that things will get better all by themselves. It is a parental duty to facilitate the educational growth and academic success of your child. This, too, is as it should be.

And, parents must rise to the occasion. While it may be true that it takes a village to raise a child, I feel strongly that the parents of that child must be at the center and forefront of that village.

In summation, parents must do more to ensure the proper education of their children in the 21st century. It is up to parents to be there for their children. It is for us to be their guides and guardians during this important part of their journeys through life. For, we must always remember

that occasionally “experience is a hard teacher who gives the test first, and the lesson afterwards….”

Therefore, as parents we must insure that our children (always) embody and epitomize the “6Ps”: Proper Prior Practice Prevents Poor Performance. Then and only then, can we and they be successful as parents.and children. In the final analysis, it is what it is.

John L. Horton is a resident of Norfolk and a frequent contributor to this newspaper.

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