How would you describe your son or daughter as a person? How well do you know your children? It's time for you to do your homework!
My youngest son just started his first year of college, but I remember well those evenings visiting the school and meeting the teachers. I always left very impressed by the teachers, and happy to have so many other people on the “team” to help my children learn and grow.
A dad named Eric told me about something else that happened with one of his kids just after the school year started. Maybe you have done something similar.
Just a few days into the new term, Eric’s teenage son brought home an assignment. It was actually an assignment for the parents to complete, to be returned a few days later.
Here is what the teacher wrote:
I take my job seriously. I am asking your student to give me a written profile of himself, and I’d like parents to write a letter on those same areas. Knowing how each student sees himself helps me to better serve his needs, and additional insights from parents will help me understand more about the student.
The form had space for parents to fill on both sides of the page.
Eric and his wife made a few playful comments about who would get to complete this assignment. Eventually they decided both of them would sit down and talk about it, and then write the letter together. And they did. Eric said it was helpful to compare their different perspectives on their son.
If you know anything about us here at NCF, you know that awareness and insight make up a big part of Coaching, one of the fundamentals of Championship Fathering. Just like that teacher said, knowing your child well in different areas helps you better serve his or her needs.
Dad, I would recommend that you do the same exercise, even if you don’t have to turn it in to a child’s teacher. Have a conversation with your child’s mother or someone else who knows your child very well, looking at the different categories suggested by this teacher:
How would you describe your son or daughter as a person? As a thinker or learner? As a student? As a reader and a writer?
Are there certain activities, sports, careers or causes that he or she is passionate about?
Then, take it deeper. What are their biggest fears and challenges right now? What big events are coming up in the next six months for them?
Every year or so—if not more—it’s good to renew your perspective on your child in these areas. In what ways has your child changed or grown? Are there things his mom has noticed that you haven’t?
Most of all, let’s keep in mind the whole purpose behind gaining all of this insight. When we know our children well, we’re better prepared to affirm, protect and connect with them—no matter what the circumstance. Then, we can be confident that we’re on the right track as we seek to encourage and challenge them to do their very best in their education and any other pursuits in life.
What’s your experience? Have you given feedback to teachers about your kids? Did you feel prepared, or caught off guard?
• Come up with 5 good “What if …” or “What’s your favorite …” questions to ask your kids, and find a time to ask them, one-on-one.
• Regularly check in with your child’s teachers, coaches, and others to ask what they see in your child.
• Get a copy of a book your child is assigned to read, and read it yourself.
Written by Carey Casey