Parenting on Purpose

What kind of parent are you? Are you the Authoritarian or the Push-over?

I was reading an excerpt of this speech the other day in a book, very interesting read!! Now this isn’t from a parent but from the educators. I work at a school so sometimes I can see how educators might have to deal with parents who just want to make their children happy and have good self-esteem and what not. But as you read this speech, think of yourself, the PARENT, and ask yourself how much you care? Are you lying to your own children through your parenting style?


The Speech the Graduates Didn’t Hear
JACOB NEUSNER—Brown University
We the faculty take no pride in our educational achievements with you. We have prepared
you for a world that does not exist, indeed, that cannot exist. You have spent four years
supposing that failure leaves no record. You have learned at Brown that when your work goes poorly, the painless solution is to drop out. But starting now, in the world to which you go, failure marks you. Confronting difficulty by quitting leaves you changed. Outside Brown, quitters are no heroes.

With us you could argue about why your errors were not errors, why mediocre work
really was excellent, why you could take pride in routine and slipshod presentation. Most of
you, after all, can look back on honor grades for most of what you have done. So, here grades can have meant little in distinguishing the excellent from the ordinary. But tomorrow, in the world to which you go, you had best not defend errors but learn from them. You will be ill-advised to demand praise for what does not deserve it, and abuse those who do not give it.

For four years we created an altogether forgiving world, in which whatever slight effort
you gave was all that was demanded. When you did not keep appointments, we made new
ones. When your work came in beyond the deadline, we pretended not to care.
Worse still, when you were boring, we acted as if you were saying something important.
When you were garrulous and talked to hear yourself talk, we listened as if it mattered. When you tossed on our desks writing upon which you had not labored, we read it and even responded, as though you earned a response. When you were dull, we pretended you were smart. When you were predictable, unimaginative, and routine, we listened as if to new and wonderful things. When you demanded free lunch, we served it. And all this why?
Despite your fantasies, it was not even that we wanted to be liked by you. It was that we
did not want to be bothered, and the easy way out was pretense: smiles and easy Bs.

It is conventional to quote in addresses such as these. Let me quote someone you’ve never
heard of: Professor Carter A. Daniel, Rutgers University (Chronicle of Higher Education,
May 7, 1979):

“College has spoiled you by reading papers that don’t deserve to be read,
listening to comments that don’t deserve a hearing, paying attention even to
the lazy, ill-informed, and rude. We had to do it, for the sake of education. But
nobody will ever do it again. College has deprived you of adequate
preparation for the last fifty years. It has failed you by being easy, free, forgiving, attentive, comfortable, interesting, unchallenging fun. Good luck

That is why, on this commencement day, we have nothing in which to take much pride.
Oh, yes, there is one more thing. Try not to act toward your co-workers and bosses as you
have acted toward us. I mean, when they give you what you want but have not earned, don’t abuse them, insult them, act out with them your parlous relationships with your parents. This too we have tolerated. It was, as I said, not to be liked. Few professors actually care whether or not they are liked by peer-paralyzed adolescents, fools so shallow as to imagine professors care not about education but about popularity. It was, again, to be rid of you. So go, unlearn the lies we taught you. To Life!
Neusner, Jacob. “The Speech the Graduates Didn’t Hear.” Daily Harold 12 June 1983.


As educators we are told we can’t be the student’s best friends, they have plenty of those. Why? Because when we give them the grade they actually deserve, they aren’t willing to remain friends. If your child is unhappy, let this be a signal of growth (if the unhappiness is coming from punishment for a wrongdoing or you not heeding his/her wishes). Happiness is based on Happenstance. When you allow your children to learn and grow, they establish true self-worth! I’d rather my child have a lifetime of self-worth than a weeks worth of self-esteem.

If I fail your child in class, it’s not because I’m a mean teacher and dislike your child. It is because I care enough to tell your child he or she isn’t trying hard enough. I WANT your child to succeed and I hope that you can use this moment to teach your child as well. I would do it for any of my 3 children. If they got an F, or an A, I am pretty sure they would know WHY they got that grade… as parents we simply need to resist the urge to think they can’t think for themselves.

When I ask my Oldest son Micah to go to his room for something he did wrong, and then enter his room to talk about what happened, he has no problem telling me what he has done wrong when we have a conversation about it. I mean a CONVERSATION, not me yelling at him or punishing him, I mean an eye to eye, heart to heart conversation. He has no problem telling me that he knew it was wrong for him to do. He has no problem telling me what kind of punishment he should receive for such behavior, and he pretty much nails it every time. I’m not going to lie, we’ve negotiated his punishment once or twice, with reason, but i can see in my child’s eyes that he truly understands me and is sincere in what he is telling me. I am sure he is truly sorry for his actions. I have seen a HUGE difference between this method and the SWIFT and Harsh punishment and then forgetting about it in 10 minutes.

As parent’s we need to take the time and invest it into our children, we might think…oh well when they are older they will understand a little more and I will explain it a little more. Please don’t do this. Start when your children can talk. Use words they understand and throw in words they don’t. In no time they will understand those big words too. You have no idea the capacity of a child’s mind.

Well I have ranted and raved, and all I can hope is that as God’s word says, you will ~~ “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”

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