All of my life I have worked with children. Not meaning that my siblings have been work (though they are), but in the sense of working in a daycare. My first summer job at the age of 13 I was working at a daycare. Most of this children now are about fifteen to sixteen years old. Their families became a part of my family because the children were there from infants to school age and some even came for after school, then there are just those whom were a part of my community so I saw them frequently either way.
But most of the kids are different. There are some who could be said to live on the straight and narrow. They completed primary schooling, went on to higher learning and are “great kids”. Then there are the kids that have gone, what some would call “a stray”. They have gone on to quit primary schooling, picked up dangerous habits which now ‘hinder’ their ability to legally get work. This was always my reason for not believing in the phrase that it takes a village to raise a child.
When a child is young and definitely impressional the things that he follows are the things that he knows or has been influenced to do as he has gotten older. This are just two reasons of why, there are many more.
I know a young man, aged 25 – 30, he quit high school. At the age of 23 was arrested for a serious crime and spent many years in jail while his son started school and was raised by everyone but him. I had a conversation with him and he told me that he was a product of his environment and had no intention of changing his ways. Though, he did not want this life for his child he would not change anything about himself to better suit his parenting because he was able to provide without any problems. He did wind up getting his GED while in prison because it was a requirement for him to complete his minimal time served.
I know a boy, age 10 – 15, he is still in school but is disrespectful and barely passing. He was raised by one of his parents whom did not complete high school either because they were worried about material things. The child was dropped off to the grandmother whom raised him the first five years of his life. Once the parent decided that they were ready to be a parent (which I do understand that there are necessary times for this to happen), the child went to the parent and instantly picked up the belief system that material things and being fashionable was more important then education. Just as the parents had. Now, the physical parent is upset that the child is doing poorly, being disrespectful towards them and school officials and that the child has knowledge about adult information. When the child has never been removed from the room during adult actions or conversations. The child has seen the parents talking badly about the teachers stating that ‘it is the schools fault that the child is failing‘, which led to switching schools — that only led to seeing that it is the child himself doing poorly and not the educational system. In the first year of being in the new school a year, the child has been suspended more than five times.
I also know a young man, aged 20 – 25, he is currently studying pre-med to become a pediatrician. He helps to coach the basketball team for his little brother. He works to help pay the bills in his parents home while he is living there (which includes the car insurance since he drives the car). He is working so hard that he is having difficulty taking time for himself to understand what he really wants. There are desires that I know he has but does not work towards because he has to work for everything else.
These three males all are from the same neighborhood. They all came from single parent household, yet there has and probably will be different lives later on.
I know a young woman, aged 18 – 24, she is a college student who is doing wonderfully in college. She has also been working and saving since she was fourteen years old. She tries to alleviate herself from her mother who works three jobs to take care of the home, and her father does not pay child support anymore and has not been much in her life. He did not even go to her high school graduation. She is not influenced by not having her father in her life. She plans to become a computer engineer when she graduates from college in three years.
I know a girl, aged 14 – 19, she is a high school student who is not doing too well. In both semesters of her freshman year she failed two classes each. She is never seen doing any school work or projects. Progress reports are coming home that say that in class work is not being completed either. The home life seems to think that it is not a big deal. It is okay and normal. But will it be okay when she has to do summer school all through high school. Which is now the worry by the school officials.
I know a girl, aged 5 – 10, she is in the third grade. She has to take City Exams to prove that she has comprehension of the work that she is supposed to be doing while in school. But there were issues there. During the testing period she did not finish her test any of the days that she had testing. She could not read fast enough or well enough to comprehend the work and her vocabulary was not well enough for her to complete the writing or multiple choice where she needed to know the meaning of the words. Yet, the other day she took a barbie to school to play with instead of a book. Her teacher is worried that she may have to repeat the third grade but also be tested — mentally.
These three girls are sisters. Why are these girls so different?
There is the battle of nature vs nuture or the belief that it takes a village to raise a child. It takes more than that. It takes time, effort and so much more than the simplicity of a village helping. Children are not props, pawns or unitelligent. They are highly influential from a young age. They will take the information that they are taught soak it in to repeat it, learn and be better than it, or just ignore it. Child development is not just a science either. It is work, a theory that will change as everything else changes around them. The one thing that will never change is where they start to learn. AT HOME!!