We have often heard it said that parents are the primary educators of their children. Among others, we find the seeds of this idea in Cicero, for whom nature herself has instilled a “strangely tender love” for one’s children. It is likewise hinted at in Aquinas, who referred to the parental care of young children as a sort of “spiritual womb”. More to the point, just over half a century ago The Church herself, in Gravissimum educationis, has reminded us of this fundamental fact: “since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators.” For this reason we view education as a partnership and as a co-conspiracy for the good of the boy.
In other episodes we have discussed the role of parents as educators of their children. Similarly, we have considered the school’s side of the great conspiracy for the good of the boy. We are aware of our duties, of how we sometimes fall short as teachers, and of our obligation to rise and fight to the end for the good for the good of our students.
In this week’s episode, we shift our focus to the role of parents and their duties towards school and community in the educational partnership. Alvaro responds to the following questions:
- What is some general advice for parents when they enter into partnership with a school?
- Enter the partnership wisely; know what the school is about.
- Enter the partnership fully, without eroding any piece of what the school has to offer both curricularly and extracurricularly.
- Stay on task when your child encounters a difficulty; the goal is education, not pain-free comfort.
- What is the general relationship between parents and their child viz. the school?
- The formation of the whole person
- Avoid advocating and over-protecting
- Conspire with the school for the good of the child
- Match the culture of school and the culture of the home.
- What is the task of parents as co-partners with the parents of their children’s friends?
- It is important to know the parents of your children’s friends
- Take an interest in your son’s friends not merely as a group, but as individuals.
- Work together with your son’s friends’ parents
- What is the role of parents viz. their child’s teachers?
- Be a matchmaker: strengthen your son’s relationship with his teachers, just as his teachers should support a child’s relationship with his parents
- Clarify with a teacher if there any question about what is happening at school
- Be honest with teachers, providing information that you think would facilitate his work in the formation of your child
- Parents and teachers: the conspiracy for the good
- What a school can hope for from the parents in this benevolent conspiracy
- What is the general role of parents?
- What does that actually mean for parents to be primary educators?
- Parents’ task with regard to their relationship with son
- Parents as co-partners with other parents
- The role of parents as partners of their son’s teachers
Also on The Forum
Family Culture with Mr. Alvaro de Vicente
On Home as Social Hub with Mr. Tom Royals
Ways to Foster a Family Culture by Mr. Alvaro de Vicente
Creating a Culture of Learning in the Home by Mr. Alvaro de Vicente
Parents as Primary Educators by Mr. Michael Moynihan
“The Talk”: On the Role of Schools and Fathers with Mr. Michael Moynihan