A few years back and number of the dads in the small town that I live in were sitting around a campfire barbecue. I love campfire discussions, it’s where all the best ideas come from. You know the ones, V8 powered chainsaws, the fastest way down a steep driveway using a trolley, how to convert your car garage into the world’s largest slot car racing set, etc.
Most of us were in education vocations of some sort. Primary, secondary and tertiary and some workplace related, we had the sectors covered. Inevitably the discussion got around to being a dad to our kids. Someone quipped “wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a series of session plans and a curriculum for being a dad!” And then the discussion got serious.
None of us would think about approaching a topic with our students, regardless of their age, without identifying outcomes and mapping the pathway (a session plan we might say). And yet in the process of bringing up our children nothing could be further from the truth. We were parenting reactively, not proactively. What do I mean by that? In general, Parenting methods are to allow our children to experience things by way of chance and then pull them up when it gone too far or about to head into danger. Now there’s merit in this to a certain degree. But I draw the analogy to a maths class. Imagine the student saying to the teacher “what are we learning today?” The teacher replies “I tell you what, how about you just start and let you know where you going wrong”. It would be a very long and difficult road to success not to mention excessively confusing for the student.
Self discovery and exploration is at the heart of wonder so at no stage am I recommending that our children should be ‘session planned’ down to their last detailed movement. However, I do believe there is an absence of planned process to the things that we do want them to achieve.
If we as parents are not actively seeking out ways to teach values to our children where will they get them from? We rely heavily on the school system these days to teach things that really aren’t schools domain. Let’s leave the academics to the schools and let’s engage our children as parents.
In my years working with students it’s been interesting to chat to them one-on-one on repeated occasions get the sense of interactions with their parents. Rarely does the child see the parent as the number one driver in their direction (this comment is anecdotal to my experience only, I have no data to back this up)
So my friends and I decided that we would enrol in a parenting course. We approached the chaplain of the school and asked him to look around and find an appropriate course. He was, of course ecstatic. He found a great course and delivered to us over the period of the term as once a week evening sessions. I learnt heaps! But even today I’m embarrassed to tell people that I did a course in parenting, apparently I’m just meant to know this stuff.
So my question is; what shapes your parenting? Is it a combination of what you liked and didn’t like about the way your parents raised you? Is it at all possible that there are gaps in your process?
This was a guest blog from Scott Brown – The Outdoors Guy