|Once, as a Learning Support Teacher, I made my way down to |
the annexe that housed the school's History Department.
The annexe was about 100 metres from the main school
building, down an attractive, leafy hill.
On the way I was irked by two girls in front of me
complaining about the hill, the wind ruffling their hair,
the distance from one classroom to another, and so on.
I joined the History class with the moans and groans still
ringing in my ears. However, the topic of the lesson
soon gripped me:
Life in Thirteenth Century Scotland.
The ordinary people in those days lived in squalid huts,
unlike the nobles with their heavily fortified castles. But
even they faced many challenges. Fighting was a way of life
and the fear of attack preoccupied everyone.
In the cold, draughty, disease-ridden castles
people who lived to forty were considered old.
Not much scope for personal development and parenting
Bumpy dirt tracks served as roads and the trees that covered
most of the land made travel difficult. Schools and child
education did not exist.
After the lesson I made my way back up to the main
building. This time I overheard another conversation - or to
be more precise, one side of a conversation.
A girl behind me chatted to her mum, many miles away
on the outskirts of the city. The small cellphone clamped to
the girl's ear made it possible.
Times had certainly changed since the 13th century!
Not only could this girl travel many miles by comfortable
transport every day, but at the touch of a button she could
chat with her mum.
This made me think again of the two I'd overheard on the way
down. Unlike their 13th century counterparts, they could
walk safely on a dry, tarmac surface and enjoy the benefits
of a good education. Yet they moaned and groaned . . .
Yes, teaching - and parenting - teenagers brings its
But if raising confident children is our goal,
why not start early, and help them develop a sense of awe
and wonder. Help them realise how far we've progressed.
Stress the benefits growing families enjoy today - benefits
unavailable to our predecessors, for whom life was hell.
Make your kids aware of the changes even since they were
iPods, mp3s, DVDs, multiplex cinemas, online bookings,
- when you think about it, the list is impressive!
And the downside: in a world saturated with resources
and abundance, millions starve. Yet all could be put right
Your children are young and impressionable, so true-life
stories will absorb their insatiable interest. Make this
part of your home education program, working hand-in-hand
with their special school projects.
And it will pay dividends. Informed, appreciative
children become confident, tolerant, fair-minded and
determined young people.
Personal development all round . . .
Why do some parents and children succeed, while others
Frank McGinty is an internationally published author and
teacher. If you want to develop your parenting skills and
encourage your kids to be all they can be, visit his web
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