Back in my educational days, the phrase “active learning, active teaching” was something you heard at almost every conference which happened what seemed like everyday of the week. Because ya know, on top of all these ridiculous hours that teachers put in, they still have to attend the ten conferences a week too. Anyways, from what I can remember (and if they haven’t changed anything – because they change the new acceptable teaching styles like they change their underwear) active teaching meant you are literally active with the kids; you are singing with them, sitting at the table with them, interacting, asking questions, and everyone is laughing and painting rainbows. Just kidding, it was more like trying to rope a litter of kittens sometimes (depending on the lunch food or moon), but active teaching was actually fun if you were doing it right. Still, active teaching, and learning is definitely my thing. When you are active in this child’s life, you are learning just as much about them as they are hopefully learning about the subject. It’s a bonding experience with your students, they develop a sense of trust, and they enjoy learning in your company. You are not just the typical teacher leaning over their desks with your red pen. This got me thinking about extending this further into a child’s life. What if we had active parenting for children these days?
Now what in the hell am I talking about? When I see a lot of kids social media for example, it blows my mind how many are posting what they want to, and how unaware their parents are. They put their suicide notes on Facebook, and all their friends are calling and arranging rides to drive to this teenagers house to check on them, while the parent is in their bedroom peacefully unaware. Kids posting on Instagrams about all their drug loves, “Snapchatting” things they shouldn’t be, using dating apps, and looking up Fifty Shades of Grey porn. What teenager wouldn’t have been doing this throughout the ages if they had access? They have the world in the palm of their hand, they have friends to pick them up and take them out into the world, and that Football game or sleepover? They get lost in a sea of kids to go do God knows what while you think they are just at a “football game” or “sleeping over.” If you aren’t careful your kid is acting twenty-one at fifteen when they do not have the capacity in their brains to be “acting” like that. Yes, they are in “grown up” bodies, and can feel “grown up” things, but they do not have the knowledge, experience or power to execute those emotions correctly yet.
No, you cannot control your kids actions; you cannot sit on top of them. I’ve watched parents control everything down to the minutes on the kid’s phone, and let me tell you, they weren’t successful either. Its a delicate balance of power, respect and back-fire. So what exactly as a parent are you supposed to do? Get active; be an active parent. Trust your kids, do not trust the internet. BAN (yes, ban) certain apps from their phone, know their friends, keep in contact with the friend’s parents, watch their social media, talk to them and let yourself become an active safety net. The way I see it, the parents that are “chill”, have no structure within their kids lives, then freak out when something goes wrong are the wrong kind of safety net. They make themselves seem like an awesome parent, but they are not paying attention or listening. That kind of safety net rests on the ground, so when the kid falls they hit hard. Why? Because that parent wasn’t paying attention. Be the parent that is there to pick your kid up when they did get in over their head. Other parents don’t even let their kids get OUT of the safety net, therefor everyone loses their minds. Don’t be that parent either. Delicately balance an off the ground, not too close but in the middle system that is best for all, and each age will need adjusting because each age is a completely new set of traps.
I’m not asking you to be the perfect parent. Your children are human, and in a world where they literally are given the world at even an elementary age, you are going to have to pull up your bootstraps. Sit at their table, participate, sing with them, talk to them, learn with them, instruct them, and be there for them. They will learn everything themselves, but they don’t have to hit the ground to do that.
New shop, and song of the week!