“To educate in mind and not morals

is to educate a menace to society.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Surprise!  Surprise!  Raising kids is society’s job – not the sole responsibility of parents, according to Sandra Griffin, assistant co-ordinator of child-care research at the University of Victoria and co-chair of the “Stronger Children – Stronger Families” conference which took place earlier this summer.

It’s all a matter of education, one has to suppose.  Nothing did more to wake up the Vancouver community than its recent riot.  Griffin told the Vancouver Sun that without support from communities, children are ill-equipped to handle such “socially toxic” events.  “My guess is most of them wouldn’t have known how to get out of it.”

She goes on to state that, “Damaged children grow into damaged adults and create their own damaged children.  Strong children grow into strong adults.”

Just when did all this great enlightenment occur?  Perhaps it was when parents, fed up with our liberal educational system, decided it was time to take action.

In British Columbia the experiment in alternative education was a dismal failure.  Preparing for the year 2000, some bright lights decided reading, writing and arithmetic would not be nearly as important as computer technology.  “Let the child develop at his own pace,” they said.  Suggesting art was perhaps equally as important as academic subjects, they excused Johnny for not knowing how to read.

However, it wasn’t long before the new methods backfired.  Not only was Johnny not learning the basics, he was quick to discover that the less he had to do, the less he did and not having any respect for himself, or the system that was cheating his potential, he lost respect for his teachers as well.  And it wasn’t long before educators discovered they had a big problem on their hands.

Parents no longer had a measuring stick to judge their children’s progress as report cards failed to inform them whether Johnny was doing well, or poorly in class.  It seemed he was merely occupying space.

Without learning to compete in the classroom, he enters the world unprepared for anything out of the ordinary.  Without developing the basic thought process, life skills began to suffer.  It quickly became apparent, not only were the students not going to enter the year 2000 equipped to handle computer technology, they could scarcely handle themselves.

At this point parents became really concerned.  The majority favoured “back-to-basics” education and thus the year 2000 program was quickly revamped.

Many parents seem to take the point of view that as long as their children receive a proper education they have fulfilled their duty.  However, it doesn’t take long to notice that many children attending so called “traditional” schools are the ones who receive discipline at home.  The parents’ values are merely being reinforced.

Naturally, parents do have a duty to care for their offspring.  But if we truly love our children, we must be concerned about all children – our most important resource, now and for the future.  Unless the day comes when parents who are truly upset about the lack of discipline and respect in our society do all within their power to change that society for the good of all children, we will ultimately receive a failing grade.