It Is All Just Words.......
Submitted by Patrick D. Burk on May 14, 2008 - 11:02am
When all is said and done, there is not one single thing that is more important than working with and taking care of our children. In the past this was always handled, and rightly so, by the parents....however in today's world...this has also changed. Parents are the single most influential aspect in a young person's life...that is if there is an active and engaged parenting unit in the child's life. Parents are also the most influential even if they are bad at parenting. That is the crux of the matter. Good or bad....parents influence.
You may notice that I have used the word parent, not father or mother...although that is the most significant and familiar defintion of the term. Parent's can take many other forms as well. Today we have grandparent's who fill this role along with aunts, uncles, older siblings and completely unrelated people. Today we have to look at the word parent as the person who has the single most influence on the young child and hope that that influence is positive and nurturing in nature. The very definition of parent has changed in the 21st Century. We are on the cusp of having a redefining element in what actually is "parenting".
This is one reason why politicians these days try to explain the importance of the "traditional" family. What they do not see is that this definition as well has changed. If "family" does not reflect what they percieve as the "former norm" of two parents and 2.5 children, then it must be a bad thing. Since the basic defintion of family has changed and many are now not the norm, it is imperative that we STOP making those children, parents and caretakes feel that they are lesser in many ways. Always reciting the nauseating "family values" politics without acknowledging the change and its importance in lowering the importance of the non-traditional family reduces the importance of exactly what these non-traditional parents are accomplishing.
Can you imagine a child realizing that they are in a lesser family unit because a politician, teacher or religious leader steps up and tells them that the optimum family is a Mom, Dad and 2.5 children. The child will realize that they are being told that they are in a much lesser form of family when in fact, they may be in a wonderfully stable environment. So what is more important? Having the old norm of family permeate the child and his thinking or redefining the word and realizing that there are non-traditional settings that are great families. I have actually met a child that was told that he would be better in school if he had two parents to concentrate on his educational needs.
Now that statement may be true. There is not a doubt that the two parent family (again notice the removal of terms father and mother) is in fact the optimum ideal...but that does not diminish the grandmother that has the successful opportunity to raise her loving grandchildren because that is thier family of choice or need. It also does not explain why in non-traditional families, there is also a great emphasis placed on character education and nurturing. There are plenty of examples of two parent traditional families who have not been successful in providing the stable, nurturing and loving environment that is needed for raising our children. There are phenominal examples of non-traditional families that excel.
You may be wondering where all this has come from. I do like to write about a ton of topics, but this comes from a direct conversation that I have had with another person in the field of education. It is pure, plain and simple....if we tell the child that they are coming from a lesser value of family, the child - as a member of that family - will also think that they are lesser. It is time to redefine what the word "family" means. It is time to take a clear look at who the "parents" are with each child and it is time to stop thinking that just because a child has a mom and a dad he is from a stable nurturing environment. It is time to think of the child instead or our antiquated definitiions of words.
Thanks for listening.