Challenge for Children Grandparents Rule
I have mentioned several times in previous blogs about how lucky I was to have parents to help me in my journey to becoming a teacher. I know of several other cases where the grandparents have actively participated in raising and educating their family members. My friend,Elizabeth, is on to her third generation of educating and rearing family. She wasn’t a single mom but might well as been. Her husband really didn’t support her with their children- it was all on her. Then, her son was in a situation that required he raise his kids. No easy task as he had to earn a living. They made it work and her grandchildren turned out very well. One of those same grandchildren now has two babies of her own and wanted her Grandma to put the magic touch on her babies. Elizabeth has these little boys four days a week and adores them. The oldest is almost two and already has quite an extensive vocabulary due to his grandma’s expectations and tender loving care.
My niece, Becky, is involved with her little almost four year old grandson, Grant. He is smart as a whip and she is doing an amazing job using gardening as a springboard to his language development and knowledge base.She homeschooled her girls and definitely had high expectations for them. They both are highly intelligent young ladies and are successful adults.There are thousands of other cases and the one thing they all have in common is that they have high expectations.Then, you have the other end of the socio-economic spectrum and have families with little or no expectations and this is most like due to circumstances. If the main thing for some of these children is where will their next meal come from, college is a pretty out there, unattainable dream. I know from my own teaching experience in one inner city area how discipline issues would skyrocket around the first of May. The kids would start to realize that school would be out soon and their expectations were that soon they would have to figure out how they were going to eat since they had breakfast and lunch at school.Pretty hard to motivate kids who are always tired and hungry.
Another sad situation was one little boy who was pretty smart, but not highly motivated. He could care less about the need to do well in school so he could have a good job as an adult because in his world there was no reason to work. As he told me, “My mom doesn’t work and we always have plenty of money”. There was no way to encourage this little boy without sounding like I was putting his mom down and I wasn’t about to do that.
In the Inland Empire of Southern California, 26% of the children live in poverty (Foothills Reader Section of the Los Angeles Times, November 29th). Many distressing statistics were cited and the majority of these kids felt their options were limited to membership in a gang and they aspired to be gangsters like their dads, brothers, cousins. We need to open their minds up to the idea that circumstances can change. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen over night, but it will happen if we help these kids realize they have options.