One month is done into the new school year already. My one daughter is approaching mid-terms in college. My younger daughter about to approach mid-term of her quarter of her senior year of high school. As their Dad, I play a separate role for each.
Throughout their elementary and middle school education, I could be described as a very involved parent when it came to their education. Not to be confused with “helicopter parenting,” I simply made sure that homework was completed, quizes and tests were studied for, and best efforts were always encouraged, and achievements were recognized and praised.
Once my daughters reached high school, they each developed their own unique study habits. I turned over all of the responsibility of their schooling to them, with the exception of important deadlines pertaining to milestones, the college application process, and of course, graduation. Not one to have any place to ridicule their methods and means as students and their study habits, I did not have great study habits either, they have done nothing but produce great grades.
The school district has a very well constructed communication tool to keep parents apprised of the status of their childrens’ grades and other personal information. All I had to do at that point, is just sit back and watch. Every now and then, I would be approached by either of them for help with a specific assignment, whether it to spellcheck, or provide information. Both knew not to come to me for math, at least the “new math”.
With my college student, I no longer have that ability to see how she is doing. I can ask her how here classes are going, and I get simple answers, “good.” Instead of seeing her daily progress, I am now just an observer and must wait for the end of the semester to hear of her results. I am just an observer.
But with my high school senior, I still have a little more time of usefulness as a role model with her education. As her senior classes seem more geared to current events of the world today, whether it be business, economics, or politics, I am watching her develop as an independent thinker, something I think a lot of people fail the ability to be.
Part of her Summer assignment for her AP Government course, was to select five topics, and then find three news stories with different leans; extreme right, right, center, left, extreme left. She had to summarize each and compare it with all of the facts that she had gathered with each topic. Her first impression while undertaking this assignment, is she now understands why so many adults cannot get along with each other. The confusion for my daughter, is that when only facts are considered, solutions should be able to be found. Of course she realizes that each media resource she looked at, many have a political lean or agenda, aligned with a certain party or sub-party. Again, another observation on her part about the generations ahead of her, by ignoring the facts, too many put a party affiliation over issues that really matter to people.
She will turn 18 years old next year, and I am proud to say, I will be two for two, with registered independent voters, such as myself. My daughter will not be swayed by one particular news source, but a variety, and only when all the facts are laid out, she will make her decisions.
Another assignment she has been assigned, to argue either that “greed is good for the economy” or “greed is bad for the economy.” The assumption that we have gone from a society based on capitalism to one of greed, simply by “trickle down economics”, going back to the Reagan presidency. Simply put, make the rich more wealthy, and then they will eventually share it with those below them. Only in the forty years since the concept, that has never happened. NEVER. With the values I have taught my daughter, greed being bad, I encouraged her that she would be able to make an easy and well defined case that greed is bad for our economy.
I have to admit, with the exception of the new math, I have enjoyed assisting my daughters with their schooling when asked. I know that as adults, they have been well educated, and can have intelligent and informed conversations with people, not based on media influences. But this time is going to end when she graduates from high school, and like my older daughter, totally independent with her future endeavors.
As I see many of my friends who have just begun sending their children to school, I find myself thinking, “oh how long ago that was.” But it wasn’t. The time really flew by.