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home : opinions : columns February 5, 2016

8/14/2012 5:00:00 PM
COLUMN: Opportunities waiting
Bob Weete

Once again, we find ourselves preparing for a new year of opportunity for our kids. It's an opportunity for our parents, too, and our teachers and all others involved in the very important privilege of pursuing an education.

I hope this will be the beginning of something very special for all involved, and it can be. Since it is the beginning, there are several things of greatest importance. Last year is behind us. It is done. It was what it was. We cannot change it.

So, let's think about this new beginning, whether you are entering pre-school, kindergarten, third grade, seventh grade, or even a senior in high school. It is new, it is a clean slate, and it is up to you and you only, what will be written on that slate.

Parents, you are definitely not out of this picture. It is a whole new beginning for you, too, and you have a major role in guiding your kids at whatever level to aspire to achieve their very best. They are definitely dependent upon you for their attitude about school, being attentive to their task, and that they understand the value of learning. They learn from you the value of learning to work and realize it won't all be "fun". Does your employer make efforts for your work to be fun?

Let your kids know that you care enough about them that you want them to succeed, that they will be able to feel "good" as they work through the difficulties and find out they really can do it.

Encourage your kids constantly, but they also clearly need to know when their behavior is wrong; right and wrong concepts are crucial for their learning and will be a great determiner of their future. "But all the other kids..." Balderdash. If the other kids throw rocks at others, cheat on tests, smoke in the bathrooms or ditch classes, is that what you want them to emulate?

Very important, too, is that there must be some opportunity for the family to discuss their "work day" at dinner together. Leave the TV and cellphones out of the meeting. Be careful when your child comes up with, "My teacher is mean, lazy, stupid, etc." Kids have said that for years. Talk with them about what they can do themselves to make their behavior and attitudes better. We all try to blame someone else for a problem. Discuss ways your child can work through the difficulty.

At the same time, be alert to anything that truly may be important. You must realize your kids, even if they are "good" kids, will naturally paint their pictures as they want them to be and not as they actually are.

Kids, your parents go to work; they have a job to do. You do, too. Yours is to go to school, to learn, to fill up with new experience to collect information that you will use when you grow up and you are responsible for your own life and maybe the lives of a family, your own children, etc.

The skills you learn now will make it easier for you to get a job that you are good at, that you love to do; be committed to your goals in life.

Don't believe it when others say school is "boring". That's because they are not willing to work at learning so they can have a good job later. You will have plenty of time to play, to do fun things, but learning can be fun, too, if you are willing to follow instructions, to win, to fail, to get back up again and accomplish what you are able to do.

Sure, it hurts to fail, or to not get what you want, or to achieve a goal. We all must use those times to learn, too, by changing how you did things, and work harder and smarter. Success can and will come, but only if you don't give up and say, "I can't". Sometimes it is difficult; then ask a teacher, your parents, or another adult for help. Just do not give up and quit. Grow up to be an adult who solves problems and doesn't cop out on yourself.

Remember this: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." If you quit when something gets difficult, you will continue to do that, and your opportunities will be lost. Choose to be the person who, when things get a little tough, you just grit your teeth and become more determined to succeed.

Now, in life, some things we just weren't meant to accomplish. That is definitely okay. But you will never find out you can't if you don't give up. We are all different, with different abilities and different interests. Figure out who you are supposed to be, and go for it all the way.

For all kids (college kids, even) starting a new school year, I hope it will be a thrilling and exciting year and you will have nothing but successes.

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