Monday, June 11, 2012

When Do They Get to Live Their Own Life?

When I arrived at North Fayette I learned about a commitment the district had made to Love and Logic, sending all of the teaching staff through training and implementing the practices in the classroom and buildings.  I had heard about this program, and because of the commitment of the district, decided to attend training in Chicago to be better prepared to use the various strategies when working with students.  At that time I also signed up for their e-newsletter, which I receive every other week.  In a recent newsletter, the following letter from an employer and Love and Logic devotee was included:
Dear Mr. Fay,
I have been to many Love and Logic trainings and have been passing along the lessons for some time. I just wanted to share with you a personal story of something that happened today which just proves what you have been teaching all this time. I thought of you instantly. I will keep all details out to protect the business and the person involved.
 At a current place of business, which is a corporate/professional level, highly skilled type business, a young (meaning twenty-something) gentleman showed up for an interview today with his parents. Yes, they really did sit in on the interview. No, he did not really need them there.
 Apparently, they were to help with his nervousness and morale, and they wanted to help him with the discussion regarding salary.
 Now here is the very definition of helicopter parents that do not have a grasp of boundaries and have enabled their "baby."
 Needless to say, this particular candidate was not the one chosen.
 Hope this story may help you during some presentation to get the point across that we are crippling our youth.
Marlene, a loyal Love and Logic advocate
Those of you who read my blog and newsletter regularly will recognize the term “helicopter parent,” as I have written about this “phenomenon” a number of times over the past few years.  It seems like today we have one of two extremes.  Unfortunately we have too many parents that have basically tossed their children aside and have little or no interest in what they do.  They could care less about their performance at school and they never show up for conferences or events.  This is tough to deal with, but there is one positive in many of these situations: the child is resilient and learns to stand on their own feet.  At the other end are the parents that are described in the letter above.  Can you imagine accompanying your child to a job interview?  Who would ever think about doing this?  Well, obviously someone!  Don’t get me wrong, there are times when a parent needs to stand by their child and offer support.  I have been impressed recently with some parents that have stood by their child’s side as the young men came forward to confront a difficult situation.  They still put the burden on the child to “come clean” and take responsibility for their actions. 
There is a balance, and we need to get back to the balance.  What made the men and women who made up the “Greatest Generation” great was that even at a young age they stood up and answered the bell.  Think about it.  In the early 1940’s, 18-year old boys stepped up, volunteering in waves, to serve our country.  They found themselves in horrific circumstances and prevailed.  I do not see that in our young people today, and I am not saying that we have to send them off to war to prove it.  What I am saying is that we need to give them the chance to take responsibility for their decisions.  Steve Deace, a conservative talk show host, said the following on air one day when I caught part of his show driving down the interstate: “Students need to experience disappointment.  It is part of life.  They need to learn to overcome adversity.  It is part of life.”  Unfortunately, helicopter parents are not allowing them to experience these very important life lessons.