Updated June 10, 2020.
Character vs. Academics
Our children are learning so much more at an earlier age. And we’re also placing higher standards on our children at a much younger age. But how many of us are focusing on building their character with as much importance as their academics?
We know the brain is able to learn so much during a child’s elementary years. And higher standards prepare and equip our young children for the tougher, scholarly stuff to come.
Higher standards focus on measuring children by their intelligence, perhaps forcing them to be a certain way versus their true self. Meaning, they don’t have enough time or free time to explore who they are, what they like, what they seem to excel at or take interest in.
Developing Character First
I believe in developing who the child is first. Working on building their character because that is the foundation of who they will be and how they will begin to maneuver through this world. So, how high are our standards when it comes to our children’s character, their manners, respect for others, compassion, kindness and so on?
Not too high apparently. It seems that in a world of much advancement our children’s manners seem to be regressing. When was the last time a child or a teen said, excuse me, thank you, please? Now a days when you hear those words it’s like seeing a walking fish, you’re in awe. This shouldn’t be the case. All our children should convey politeness because all our children are capable of it.
When we develop the character first, we are allowing our children to explore and get to know who they are as a little tot and they learn how to treat themselves, others, and the world around them more kindly. With work our children can develop a character that is strong, kind, empathetic, and persevering. We can teach our children to be forgiving, more understanding, and nicer at a very young age if we focus on teaching these things. And we should because our world is in need of kindness.
Politeness a Thing of The past?
Some people are no longer in the habit of saying hello or anything for that matter to anyone they don’t know. And holding a door, helping someone in need, practicing manners, is seen even less often. I heard a teen say to another friend, “She’s so weird she just started talking to me”, she was referring to a lady in I’m assuming in her 50’s or so, who took the seat next to her at a dental office and said “Good Morning, how are you today?” When did kindness and manners become weird?
I do know and understand that we are living in a world that seems less safe for our children. Assuming that we have taught our children safety and the setting happens to be a grocery store, a clinic, or your school’s office. A hello, good afternoon, good morning would go a long way to making someone else’s day a little bit more pleasant.
Parents, Let’s Correct Our Kids!
Part of the problem, is that we are not correcting our children. Instead we make excuses for them. He’s just angry because I took his phone away, she’s always like that just ignore her, or we roll our eyes and laugh off their rudeness. Some children think it’s okay to be rude because they are having a bad day. No ma’am! We are allowed to feel and express what we feel to whom we choose to but as far as lashing out at others, what part of this makes sense to anyone or sounds okay?
I tell my 20-year-old daughter, “I know you’re upset and that’s okay but you are not going to be disrespectful to anyone in this house. If you need some time alone that’s okay too.” I have no problem with my daughter shutting her door and wanting to be off-limits to the world. But when she comes out, she is going to be respectful to anyone who crosses her path.
We need to step up our game as parents and focus on our children’s character and not just assume they’ll pick it up along the way. We need to take the time to speak to our children in private and kindly correct their ways.
Character vs. Academics
I would personally favor placing a higher standard on character for our children while in pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary school over a higher standard in academics. That’s if I had to choose but of course the perfect scenario would be to focus on both because the world is easier to manage with nicer, well-intentioned, empathetic people but we also need them to be witty and knowledgeable.
As parents and primary first teachers of our children, we should place an emphasis on developing our children’s character while they are very young.
Thank you for Reading!
(Listening to: Azúcar Morena- Carla Morrison)