Ah, National “Parents as Teachers Day” in the USA … I wonder how Donald and Melania are celebrating? Perhaps in Canada we need a National Day to celebrate Parents as Teachers, particularly during this tumultuous two years of online learning.
In this continuing saga of pandemic pressure, school aged children have been placed under more stress than coping with the usual growing pains of dealing with academic expectations. At the beginning of the pandemic, children sat at home in front of computer screens dealing with class cohorts and ZOOM meetings while their parents became teachers at home.
That was an eye opener for many parents as they dealt with a complex set of curriculum expectations beyond the experience of the average at home caregiver. Now, if we multiply their stress levels by the number of students in their child’s class, we will have a fleeting glimpse into the stress levels with which their regular teachers were dealing. Most parents are not professionally trained teachers, and no manual comes with a newborn child, so the parent as teacher is a double edged sword.
Beyond the formal education pressures put on us by the isolation of the pandemic for schooling at home, is the whole plethora of care and life lessons taught by parents. We hope that all will be loving, thoughtful, empathetic, well informed, and respectful parents as we prepare our children to inherit the twenty-first century.
Will we teach them to be flagrant consumers, seduced by corporate messaging and fake news, or will we teach them to be careful conservers, informed by science and the voice of the Earth? Will we teach them to appreciate diversity as it is found in our biosphere, or be corrupted by nationalistic fascism? Will we teach them that every child matters, and that before reconciliation comes the truth?
Imagine that Jacob Anthony Chansley, the painted, buffalo horned ringleader charged in the Capitol Hill insurrection riots, was your parent. Or that you had been raised by Hermann Göring, or Pol Pot, or Rodrigo Duterte, Imagine you had been mothered by Karla Homolka, or Ma Barker, or Countess Elizabeth Bathory, or Madame Mao. What would these parents have taught their children?
How different would you be if your mother was Ada Lovelace or Marie Curie or Severn Cullis-Suzuki, or Michelle Obama. Perhaps your father was Nelson Mandela or Elie Wiesel or Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan or Tommy Douglas.
Imagine that you were one of the anti-vaxxer parents now responsible for the continuing spread of the corona virus. Or one of the People’s Party of Canada parents spreading a white nationalist message across your community. Would you have produced a child like Malala or Great Thunberg or Abhayjeet Singh Sachal? Probably not,
For every Obi-Wan Kenobi there is a Darth Vader. We are sending this National Parents as Teachers Day salute out to all who teach on the light side of the Force. Remember, the legacy we leave in our children will be with us always.
The way I see it.