This is another of the difficult questions parents are faced with, and at first, there seem to be no quick & easy answers. As daunting as this question is, let’s zero in on an approach to making that happen.
Finding the right school would be a significant part of that equation, making sure that the teachers, administrators, and coaches that will spend time with your child are on the same page as you. Parents don’t always realize their children will spend somewhere between 30 to 50 hours a week which amounts to 1,200 hours a year with the people who are educating them. This is the reality of the situation, however.
It is, therefore, critical that everyone who has an opportunity to influence your child is working towards this same overall goal as you: that your children are wholly equipped & prepared to live a meaningful life on every level.
Get to Know Them
To make sure that your child is being equipped and prepared to live a meaningful life, you need to get to know them better by spending time with them. Spend time with them when you’re not necessarily parenting them but enjoying them. Don’t spend this time trying to fix them or adjust them. This is a hard one because a parent’s tendency is to continue making adjustments until the work is done. I am referring to spending the time to get to know your children at their real functional level.
Take time to consider, how can you get to know your children at their real functional level?
Find Out What Excites Them
Also, find out what excites them, what they have a natural gift for. Begin to look at what educational options would work for them. Some of you will say this may work great for some students with no learning challenges, but what about special needs children or my gifted child or it really is the same formula for all students? Some are a little more difficult, but let me give you really quickly something my son said to me, my youngest, my 18-year-old about six weeks ago that stopped me in my tracks. We were watching American Idol, the last season, and there was one particular contestant. He got to the last four or 5 and the show focused on a story about him being bipolar. They included a time when he was around 11 years old when he became so hurt because he would have emotional ups and downs. He was not like everybody else because his issue provoked an emotional downturn that could not be quickly resolved.
The young man grew to obviously become very talented at music and that helped him with his bipolar disorder. As we were talking I said something about bipolar disorder and it being a disability. My son said, “Dad, why do we call it that?” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Why do we call it a disability?” He said, “Why don’t we call it a skill set?” I stopped and I looked at him and I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Even though it is hard for him to process regular life, isn’t he wired to be a songwriter or performer because he builds things up so passionately in the way he communicates to the people who come to see him?” I was stunned because he’s right. Yes, and it creates challenges for other areas of this particular person’s life, but in some ways if he can learn to manage this thing (being bipolar) it gives him the ability to do what he does in a way that most of us can’t.
Many times what we accidentally do is limit our children because we don’t know them well enough to see how their particular skill-sets not only can bring challenges but also offer opportunities. Real life happens and children have both challenges and advantages, but we need to understand that they are created with challenges, gifts, and talents that form a skill-set. Despite the regular everyday challenges or even the sometimes intensive challenges, they also have gifts and talents that make up an entire skill-set. Our job is to find schools with teachers who will help them enhance, build up, and strengthen those areas that are both challenges and those that are gifts. We need an educational environment where children are the focus and not the educational process in order to make this happen.
Take time to consider, what skill-sets does your child have that excites them?
Surround Your Child with the Right People
The thing parents have to keep in mind is that our job is to prepare our children for their future so they can lead a meaningful life by surrounding them with people who will help in this purpose. Proverb 22:6 says,
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he’s older he won’t depart from it.”
You can’t do it all yourselves, so finding the right people and situations that will enhance what you do as a parent is critical.
Remember, how you ensure your child is equipped and prepared to live a meaningful life doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. Use the tips you just learned to make it easier on yourself.
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