I've pondered this post for a while. I've spent quite a while thinking about it. I'm still not sure that I KNOW all the ins and outs of what I'm about to "talk" about, but I'm going to try.
One day, he has to be the "man" of his home. He has to be the breadwinner. Does that mean his wife won't work or will stay home and take care of kids? I don't know. Maybe she'll be a high paid attorney, or the President or work at Wal-mart. Maybe he won't have kids. Maybe he'll have fourteen (Lord, please, no!). Regardless of which, ultimately, he is responsible for providing for and managing his family.
Maybe we will have the second coming first. Maybe not. Just in case it's not, it's our job as parents to make sure he is prepared to do that job.
That's part one.
It is our job to keep our child safe. As adults we are to be aware of all the factors in his environment: his music, his friends, his video games, his schools, his vehicles, where he is, his sports, his teachers, his pastors, his church, the books he reads, the television he watches, the food he eats, the choices he makes, the clothes he wears. Sometimes it's overwhelming to be a parent.
To that end, many times things that are passed off as "normal" and "it's everywhere" or "it's the times we are living in" become statements to smooth over the edges of something that, at first glance, seems just plain wrong.
Take for example, police officers in schools.
I don't shop in places that are dangerous and require police officers (at least not more than once). I try not to put myself in areas of town where there is known danger. I don't knowingly walk into dangerous situations.
But I send my child to school where police officers are present. And I'm told they are there to keep my child safe. Safe, really?
(Great, I stopped typing to watch TV and lost my train of thought -- darn ADD, huh?)
I know, from studies, that smaller classroom sizes and smaller teacher:student ratios improve learning. It also makes sense on a common sense level.
I know that, in today's world, even people with college degrees are struggling to find jobs. There is a high level of accomplishment required in today's job market. My son will have to have a job one day. I suspect that knowing how to write a research paper will be helpful in his future -- a skill that, as an eighth grader, I would have thought he would have already been taught. But, no. I think that knowing how to spell will be helpful on a job application. I was told by a teacher that it didn't matter because there is spell check on computers now.
I know that surrounding oneself with people of like values, positive attitudes, discipline and respect creates an environment for developing the same values, positive attitudes, disciple and respect. I know that Kevin and I have been fighting a losing battle. I can try to teach values, positive attitudes, discipline and respect for the hours I have my son at home, but he is then influenced by others he is around at school -- regardless of whether those are different from what we are teaching or not, he is influenced and behaviors are influenced by this.
It is for these reasons that we have decided to take Josh out of public school and put him into a private, Christian school.
I was asked today if it was the "teachers or students" that we were dissatisfied with at his current school. I paused for a while and said that I thought it might just be the overall attitude of apathy all the way around.
When you are in a situation that you know you can't change -- no matter how much you want to, how different you are from the environment, how wrong you think things are -- you eventually get worn down and get tired. From that point, apathy sets in. And, I think, that might just be the status. The teachers see so very much that is sad, wrong, difficult and they can't do anything about it. Remember, there is police there now because the teachers can't do anything.
I have struggled to find the reasons -- it's easy to point out this one thing, this other thing, but independently they all sound pretty paltry. It makes me sound like I think I'm "better". But it's not that at all -- it's that I want better for my son. I don't want to look back four, five, ten years from now and think, "If I had just done something sooner ..." I want to keep him as safe as possible. I want him to have every opportunity to become a man of discipline, values, hard work, accountability, responsibility and respect. I want an environment that is supportive of my efforts to do that for him -- not one that seems to be apathetic to those efforts.
I know, it's rambling. I'll probably read back through it later and go, "Wow, you need to write in a less 'stream of consciousness' manner, but it is what it is. It is the reason. It is my job as a parent: analyze, ponder, be proactive or reactive and make choices. Someone should have told me this was going to be hard.