Parents need schooling as much as the kids do

Character Counts in Iowa

Two college classmates and I were rehashing the annual Character Counts gala at the Hy-Vee Conference Center Friday night.  The gala honored Indianapolis tight end and Livermore native Dallas Clark with the Bob Ray Pillar of Character award.

The conversation segued into the Character Counts program in itself and how effective it is in the schools that implements it and the students who benefit from it.  We agreed that Character Counts is helping students become better citizens in this world of continuing bad behavior and choices.

Dallas Clark, 2010 Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character award receipent

We also agreed that parents should be taught the same principles as their children are learning through the Character Counts program.

A sizable number of parents today have abdicated their roles as disciplinarians and role models for their children.  Fathers are trying to be their son’s “homies” and “boys” and mothers want to be their daughters “BFF” and wear the same clothes as their daughters do.  More importantly, it’s the mindset of the “backseat teacher” that got one friend up in arms.  Parents telling teachers that they don’t know how to do their jobs, defending their children’s bad behavior, and in turn, behaving badly themselves.

Teachers, athletes, public figures, and others can do so much to influence children to do good or bad.  It’s up to the parents who are not acting like parents to stop passing the buck and grow up.  It’s “big boy” life we’re talking about here.

It’s astounding to me that some adults haven’t figured it out by now that raising children is a life-long contractual obligation (translation = career).  No, I don’t think it’s a job.  It’s a career to raise kids, give them advice, and guide them towards making decisions that will enrich them, not destroy them.

The (bad) decisions of parents can leave a child without an anchor.

For the record, I’m not a parent.  I’m still single, never dated, and wished I was in the same position as many of my friends and those who follow this blog.  But I do know what it’s like to live with divorced parents, and to see other parents from every walk of life continually make mistakes left and right, never learning from them enough to guide their kids to go in the opposite direction and surround themselves with good people.

Character Counts is a very good program for children, and educators have seen the results.

It might be a good idea to bring parents to school and teach it to them.  We sure as hell need it as much as the kiddies do.

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