Yesterday, I was making some jewelry at my workstation in our home. It is another hobby of mine. With my graduate classes in full swing this fall, I did not have much time available for creativity regarding my beadwork. Pandora was festively playing traditional Christmas tunes that kept me in good company while I worked. A song sung by Amy Grant came on called my Grown Up Christmas List (I actually thought it was “Wish” before I looked it up to write the blog) and it got me thinking how powerful the words to that song could be…..in other words, the song inspired me. If you’d like to listen to the song, you can do that here: Grown Up Christmas List sung by Amy Grant.
For a while I have been thinking of asking something of those adults I know with children. Parents. Caring people. Humans living busy lives. I know – another person asking another thing of you. However, am still going to ask because I think it is important. So, here goes…..
If someone besides yourself has helped your child succeed academically – a teacher, a friend, a club leader, a pastor, a priest, a neighbor, a librarian, a tutor, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a coach – anyone – besides yourself, I am asking YOU to return the favor and help another child besides your own, to be a success in school!
When I think about the success my boys have enjoyed in school, much of it is due to the priority my husband and I put on academics as their parents. However, there is also a great deal of influence by people we know – at our schools, or in our community – who have made a great difference in our boys’ academic lives. As I stepped away from formal student advocacy this year, I am asking you to step up. When I advocated for my boys, I was sure to advocate for other students as well. Over the years, I have been sadly surprised to learn that this is not the “normal” occurrence. Typically, parents advocate for their student and their student only. I find this unacceptable and not at all in the “it takes a village” philosophy.
So, this coming year (I am not asking you to do this immediately), but this coming year, as you pursue something that might benefit your child academically, try to include or extend that benefit to another child – one that is not your own. It could be qualifying to take an accelerated class, inclusion in a “special” group like advanced book club or writing circle, participation in MathCounts, or help with their National History Day project. It could be anything. I am just asking you to help a child/student who is not your own, but might have the same needs as yours.
Sadly, some children do not have advocates. If we go through life just protecting and pushing “our own” children forward, we are missing the opportunity to impart a sense of community to those around us, but mostly we are missing the chance to build a village capable of sustaining excellence in an academic community.
So, my Grown Up Christmas Wish is this:
if your child has been the recipient of academic opportunity, you will help another child have opportunity to succeed, as well. It is a wish well in accordance with the holiday spirit. Be thankful for what you have been given and then, give back! Thank you!