• From the Principal's Desk

    From Principal Rundle

    A Regular Sharing of Ruminations

    September 2017

     

    Dearest Cresthill Community,

     

    Our kids need us now more than ever. They REALLY need us. And I'm not talking about transportation to the mall. No child is born knowing "the rules" of how life works - how to get along, how to behave appropriately, how to deal with anger or frustration or embarrassment, how to avoid temptation, how to conduct and carry oneself in various situations. Every child must be taught and enculturated into the rules specific to the society around them. That's what parenting is intended for; that is why for human beings childhood and adolescence are so much more prolonged than in any other species - we HAVE to get it right or our offspring are in for a rough haul. The stakes are too high.

    Parents matter! Parenting matters!! Our kids need us to model and teach the way; to show them very explicitly, intentionally, thoughtfully and
    thoroughly how to become a sturdy human being. It is the one thing we cannot afford to leave to chance or circumstance or ??

     

    Back in 1972, Dorothy Law Nolte wrote this reflection on parenting:
    If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
    If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
    If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
    If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
    If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
    If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
    If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
    If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
    If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
    If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
    If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and others.
    If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
     

     

    It was written for an "unconnected" time (undoubtedly pounded out on a
    typewriter!) when there was no household access to the internet, no social media apps, no cell phones in our pockets at all times. Quite obviously, it was
    written to and for moms and dads as a caution and an encouragement.
    Model and instill these things in your home where you have near complete
    control, she was urging us, and what will follow for your children are
    highly predictable outcomes. In her mind the culture of the home/family
    determines what kind of reality the child "lives."

    We live in a far more complex and confounding time here in 2017. The
    vital role of adult authority (i.e. parenting) has been radically diminished in the past three decades, not because parents have somehow stopped loving or caring about the character, dispositions, and values of their kids. Those things haven't changed at all. What has changed is the out-sized role the influences of mass media and pop. culture have displaced within our family systems. Slowly but quite effectively our culture has seen the erosion and undermining of some really important values and standards of civil life. Our desires for positive life outcomes for our children hasn't shifted, but the culture has.

    The reasoned and responsible voice of parents, elders, teachers... has to
    compete with the new and intoxicatingly alluring voice of "teen culture"
    - which is now so much a part of the world around us we don't even
    notice it's dominating presence most of the time. Our kids today assume
    there have always been entire economies and markets geared just to them
    as target audiences. The world of adolescents has always been a little
    bit edgy and dark; but it is at a whole other level of disrespect and defiance than we've seen before. The opinions, tastes, values, and ideas of same-aged peers now powerfully seek to squeeze out those of the
    parents. It is not supposed to be that way. It is very dangerous when
    it becomes that way. Kids need parents to teach them and guide them
    and hold them accountable now more than ever.

    I believe firmly that as parents/teachers/adults/elders we must battle back! This is a fight worth fighting. Criticism, hostility, ridicule, shame...
    as loving parents we'd never deliberately invite these things into the lives of our kids. But these things attach themselves to our kids' lives in the blink of an eye: in the click of a "send message" or "paste/forward." If we want our kids' lives to be filled up pressed down and overflowing with such noble traits as tolerance, acceptance, approval, and honesty, then we have to ensure their explicit presence through our modeling and direct guidance. Instagram is not helping us here, nor is Snapchat, nor...

    I am a huge proponent of parents knowing what is going on in the affairs of your sons or daughters. This means having full and unfettered access to their "personal" devices. This means having phones physically checked in with you on a nightly basis before bed time. It means sitting and talking face-to-face about school, friends, life, feelings, celebrations, etc. It might feel a little awkward at first if this is something that is new, but trust me when I
    say your child will grow to appreciate knowing they have a mom or a dad
    that loves them fiercely enough to shape within them the kind of life we
    want our children to have.

    Much love,
    Sid

    (read more here.)