Parents, Keep Doing These Six Things
Living Faith has a rigorous and multi-layered enrolment process. Why?
Living Faith offers an educational product that aims to close the gap between the way schools operate and what we know (through educational neuroscience and child psychology) about how children learn. In order to achieve this, our classrooms function in a manner far removed from the schooling most parents experienced when they were children. Our classrooms also function in a manner that’s detached from many of the pressures today’s society says we should impose on our children.
One of the blessings of an independent education in Australia is parental choice. A rigorous and multi-layered enrolment process gives potential families every opportunity to learn about the philosophical underpinnings of a Living Faith education, in order to make an informed decision about whether or not Living Faith’s approach is the right fit for their family. The result is a school community that seeks a Christian education and shares fundamental values and beliefs about child development and education.
And so, in my final article as the principal of Living Faith Lutheran Primary School, I encourage you - our collective parent and carer community - to keep doing these six things, which you already do as parents who have chosen a Living Faith education.
1. Keep fighting to maintain your kids’ childhood.
Society says we should force more academia on our kids in younger years. Society is wrong. Developmentally, kids are not yet ready for this. In imposing more pressure on kids at a younger age, we are damaging their brains and negatively impacting their long-term mental and emotional well-being. Remember that the best way to prepare a kid to be 5 years old, is to let them be 4 years old for an entire year. The same applies for every stage of life. Live in the peace of knowing that your kids will develop academically without excessive adult intervention and that our real focus should be on kids’ joy and social-emotional development.
Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14
2. Keep letting your kids make mistakes.
The best lessons in life come not from getting things right, but from making mistakes and reflecting on what happened. So, no matter what it takes, avoid interfering in your kids’ business and solving their problems. Let them have a go and learn from their own mistakes. And, when they make mistakes, rather than reprimanding them, gently ask what they’d do differently next time. You’ll be setting your kids up to become strong, adaptable, optimistic and responsible adults who are lifelong learners.
Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:24
3. Keep allowing your kids to experience the highs and lows of life.
Remind yourself daily that protecting your kids from grief and trauma today, is the best way to set your kids up for failure later in life. Allowing kids to experience the highs and lows of life from a young age not only reminds them that they do have the capacity to overcome challenges and accomplish great things, but also develops within them the resilience, emotional fortitude and tenacity they will need to face more significant struggles that will come as they age. (And more significant struggles will come - you simply can’t protect your kids from this.)
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance
produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3,4
4. Keep your eyes and ears fixed on the right noise.
Be discerning about who you listen to with regard to child development and education. Politicians and policy makers often know very little about child development, and those trying to sell you products are often more motivated by the sale than by what’s best for your kids. Those who are truly invested in what’s best for kids are the likes of Maggie Dent, Nathan Wallis, Steve Biddulph, Janet Lansbury, Pasi Sahlberg and Peter Gray. Let the right names flood your social media and influence your thinking, and avoid being swept up in the noise of those with aggressive alternative agendas. Further, listen to your kids’ teachers. Knowing how much time your kids spend at school and knowing the calibre of teachers at Living Faith, trust in and partner with our teachers for the benefit of your kids.
Tune your ears to the world of wisdom; set your heart on a life of understanding. Proverbs 2:2
5. Keep loving your kids and teaching them to love others.
Love is humble and selfless, and it is both a choice and an action. Continue being an example to your kids by choosing love over hostility, selfishness, status, comparison and other bitter qualities that lead only to discontent and joylessness. Love edifies: it enhances, it lifts and it builds not only the recipients, but also the giver. Those who love, lead the richest and most meaningful lives.
While knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that builds up. 1 Corinthians 8:1b
6. Keep being kind.
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Parenting is hard. You have bad days, and other parents have bad days. Squash any judgemental thoughts you have about yourself and others, and replace them with curiosity. The more you learn about yourself and others, the more you’ll find that everyone experiences joys and challenges and you’re only alone when you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable with others, and others to be vulnerable with you. Be a safe place for others. And be a safe place for yourself.
Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11