Proactive Parenting: School Shenanigans
By: Kristin Courts
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In other words, it’s only the parents who come to school belligerently or send the nasty emails who seem to get results. What if the wheel didn’t have to squeak to begin with? What happens when parents don’t know what they should say or to whom they should say it? Just as a car requires routine maintenance to run at optimal performance, a smooth school year requires some things to be in place, or a breakdown is inevitable.
One of the most proactive measures a parent can take to help his or her child be successful in school is to communicate frequently with the teachers and support staff, including administration if necessary. Unfortunately in many cases the first time a teacher sees the face of a parent is when dad comes to the school to retrieve a forgotten jacket. The first time a teacher receives an email from mom should not be an attack for some missing points on an assignment. Establish a rapport and establish it early. It’s important not to assume that because a child is well-behaved or making good grades, that all is well. Actually, those are the students most likely to fall through the cracks. Parents who make their presence known at the beginning of the school year plant seeds that will bear good fruit in the months ahead. The investment is worth it. Possible ways to communicate include setting up a physical or virtual meeting, sending an email, requesting a phone call, or even sending a hand-written note to let your child’s teacher know you and her are on the same team. The Bible tells us to pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding (Romans 14:19 ESV). That implies creating the relationship has to be intentional. Communicating frequently sets the stage for honor because it shows that all parties involved are vested in meeting the needs of the student. It lets the teacher know the parent is interested and aware of the things happening in the child’s learning environment. It lets the child know the parent and the teacher are on one accord.
Many times, because the teacher has a place of connection with a parent, resources and extra information is made readily available that otherwise may not have been. It creates favor. Proverbs 12:27 makes it plain, “The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.” Parents who do what is necessary to make communication a priority, reap the benefits while others who did not put in the work have nothing to stand on besides frustration. If there is ever a situation where the child’s or teacher’s actions, need to be called into question, a relationship has already been established and a lot of speculation is eliminated before it begins. Finally, If there are issues or places of discontentment from a parental standpoint, at least there is a record of the attempts to mitigate the situation before the chain of command is scaled and the proper steps can be put in place to move forward.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for covering (insert child’s name). I declare that___________ has favor with you and with every person with whom he comes in contact. I send the angels of the Lord to guard, surround, and defend him. Help me to speak graciously and give me wisdom concerning how to respond in every situation to promote my child’s well-being and success. Put your words in my mouth so that when I communicate with the school staff, it is a reflection of you in the earth. Thank you in advance for your grace and mercy following ____________ every time he engages with teachers and classmates. Let this mind be in my children and me that is in Christ Jesus. Amen.