This past week has seen our Pastoral Team in the primary section focusing on some conversations with a number of parents in relation to some events that have unfolded. This partnership is vital between parents and staff in any learning community and as I spoke with parents, I focused on viewing the situation that was being addressed as a learning opportunity, as a conversation starter with their child.
The reality of life is that we all make mistakes. We all make poor choices at various times. As adults we have the benefit of experience and reflecting on our past mistakes which assists us to make better, wiser, more rounded decisions as adults. For our children, the battle often comes down to a desire to fit in, a desire to be part of the crowd. Belonging is a real battle for many children, and for many adults, yet it is one that requires guidance, conversation and support from parents. In many cases, children are learning as they go.
When our children do make mistakes, how do we handle them? Are we raising our voices in frustration? Do we tell them they’ve messed up and belittle them? Or do we take the opportunity to talk it through? Do we ask some well guided questions? Do we
probe, prompt and help them to reflect on the situation?
In a world that is constantly changing and unfolding before us, where in many cases our children have greater knowledge and understanding of situations than we do, we need to keep the conversation going. Even when our children say they don’t want to talk about it, they probably do, although may not know how to, or how we might respond. We need to be aware of what our children are doing. Of who they are talking with online, what they are sharing, viewing and accessing. We need to accept that our children will make mistakes, will hurt one another and in some cases may attempt to cover it up, or even lie about it. These are normal things.
As parents; however, we can’t ignore these realities. We can’t close our eyes and minds to what our children may be saying, doing, watching and engaging in. We need to build relationships of trust, of understanding and mutual respect. We need to keep the doors open so that when our children do make mistakes, they aren’t fearful of approaching their parents to talk it through. No mistake is too great that we would shut the door to an approach by our children.
As a school we constantly reflect on the importance of these matters. The great example we have is that there is no mistake too great that we can’t find forgiveness from God through Jesus. When our children make a mistake, and we know that sometimes their mistakes are huge, meeting them with a hug, with understanding and forgiveness might be the first response. If we do this, when the next bigger mistake occurs, they may be less inclined to hide it or cover it up. A relationship of trust, and learning, will acknowledge, discuss and understand the good the bad and the ugly.
As a staff, we regularly pray for you as parents in the complex and challenging role you have. We ask that God might give you wisdom and help you as you seek to bring your children up to be young men and women who know how to handle the mistakes they will continue to make.